This guide is an analysis of the most noteworthy market trends for early October. Our goal is to provide useful food for thought for players looking for speculative opportunities, or just seeking to increase their understanding of how the markets in EVE Online work.
If this proves popular and useful, Ten Ton Hammer may make it a recurring feature. I want to stress that these are observations and advice, and not market analysis gospel. I am calling things like I see them, and if nothing else it should provide something interesting for trade lovers to read.
#5: Planetary Materials Stabilize
The best thing about the market in EVE Online is that it keeps everybody guessing. Get good enough at guessing, and you will never need to worry about ISK, again.
One of the biggest problems is that the instability of POS fuel was so great that many people would check out of the POS game entirely, rather than risk buying a month of fuel and having the price drop by a third, within a week. People are risk averse like that.
Over the past couple months, coolant went way up, then down as everybody and their mother switched to making it. The same thing happened to robotics and mechanical parts, though over a much shorter period of time. I think this is a trend that we will see repeated many times, as CCP tweaks the way planetary materials are harvested and used. Just be aware than any time something jumps in price, a lot of people are going to start making it.
Of course, as I discuss later on in this article, this is very much the calm before the storm. When the Incursion expansion is immanent, expect a great deal of speculative purchasing and price manipulation.
#4: Technetium Ascends
For those that may not be aware, tech two modules and ships are made by combining their tech one equivalent with a bunch of parts made out of stuff that has been mined from moons. Moons cannot be mined in high security space, and require a POS starbase to be set up to mine them, making them the resource faucets that competitive alliances and corporations fight over.
The new-age all-star of moon minerals, Technetium, continues to rise in price. And why wouldn't it? Most of the moons are under the control of strategically aligned people who would rather use the technetium to make things, than sell it on the open market. Though the odd moon here and there changes hands, the bulk of the moons sit in the north of EVE, or near enough that the northern alliances can control them without too much fuss.
There is a self reinforcing trend at work here: as the price of Technetium goes up, the price of Fullerides goes up a bit, and the price of Nanotransistors goes up a lot. The people that are mining the Technetium are not stupid, and they see that a great deal of value can be added if they use the Technetium to make Nanotransistors. Thus, less and less raw Technetium makes its way to the Jita market, and the cycle repeats itself.
This vicious cycle means that a lot of people that might otherwise want to buy Technetium in Jita to react at a POS, are going to do the math and see that it is not worth it, or is barely worth it.
The reason Technetium is so worthy of discussion is that it is in short supply for tech two production, especially tech two ships, in such a way that it has become the most valuable moon mineral in the game, eclipsing even the supermoons of yore, Dysprosium and Promethium.
The tech two components that are made from Technetium mostly include the microprocessors (Nanoelectrical Microprocessor, Nanomechanical Microprocessor, Photon Microprocessor, and Quantum Microprocessor). They have all marched up in price along with Technetium, though as secondary markets the effects they have felt are a bit muted.
In any case, I expect that this trend will continue until the greater tech two market begins to feel it, and then to reach a sort of equilibrium. It might reach the point where people find it cheaper to fly faction ships over tech two ships, or it might not. Also, CCP could change this at any time with further tweaks to the consumption rates of the different moon minerals, or with new alchemy reactions.
#3: Basic Minerals Stabilize
After getting the crap kicked out of them for the past few months, it seems like the basic minerals, used in, well, pretty much everything, are sorting themselves out and sticking to general price areas. Notably, mining in low-security space still is not worth it, and mining anything other than Arkanor, Bistot, or Crokite (when it is available), still is not worth it.
Nocxium has settled on a much higher price than I would have anticipated, perhaps due to its new uses in various blueprints introduced in the Tyrannis expansion. It seems like CCP wanted to drive the price up a bit, and they certainly have.
The changes to the insurance system, whereby self-destructing insured battleships actually produced a profit, have been changed. That was seemingly a large part of demand on the mineral market, responsible in large part for floating mineral prices.
There are a few things buoying mineral prices, still, including supercarriers, a ship class that has recently been improved immensely, causing manufacturers to suck up huge piles of minerals in order to make them. There is also a resurgence of large-scale warfare in null-sec. It isn't anything like we saw a couple years ago, but it is still enough to make a few dents in the ship market. Finally and most importantly, though the demand for minerals has been radically reduced, the supply from NPC loot has been similarly reduced, resulting in the current equilibrium.
Will it hold steady? Until CCP messes with it again, it seems likely.
#4: The PLEX Spike
The price of PLEX cards to extend subscriptions has increased by about 50mil over the past month. This may be attributable to any of the following: the PLEX for Pakistan charity project run by CCP; deliberate market manipulation; or a reduction in supply of PLEXes because of less being purchased with dollars or euros, perhaps because of a reduced scarcity of ISK or a general lowering of the value of non-ISK assets. In any case, it is an interesting trend to watch.
I would advise against investing in the PLEX in the short term, as prices may subside after a month or two. If prices have not corrected themselves by the new year, then they are probably up there to stay, and will continue their gradual trend upwards.
#5: The Near Future: Incursion
What the future holds, only a swami or moderately intoxicated Icelander can be sure. But that hasn't stopped market-watchers from trying to dredge up every bit of information available about the upcoming Incursion expansion. By guessing the important changes ahead of time, wise investors can make ten or twenty times their investment. Of course, foolish investors can find that their speculative purchase is not longer worth even a fraction of the pre-expansion value.
One of the noted possibilities is that Nanite Control Paste (a critical consumable used to modules that have damaged themselves from overheating) may soon become much harder to produce. The reason being that the amount produced by the blueprints on the test server has been changed from 10 to 1. If this is a real change and not a red herring (as it may well be), expect the ingredients used for making the paste to go up in price, namely Data Chips, Gel-Matrix Biopaste, and especially Nanites. These items are also used in making other planetary materials, meaning that there will be more upward pressure on the price of Biotech Research Reports and Transcranial Microcontrollers. It is generally expected that there will be more uses for planetary materials, post-expansion.
On the other hand, Incursion promises to make it much easier to run planet-side material extractors. This would mean that, barring other concerns, planetary materials would get much cheaper, especially the basic materials that are harvested raw, or taken through one step of processing. Speculative purchases of random planetary materials seem like a poor idea, given this information.
The Sum Totality Of Market Analysis
The overall trend in pretty much all markets in EVE Online is that of stabilization following the Tyrannis fallout, which was the most economic chaos that I have ever seen in this game. This is mostly due to the removal of stabilizing factors on that economy, most notably the mineral price floors. Incursion will probably not have such wide-reaching effects, since there is no information about further large-scale tampering with minerals. Still, it will likely cause a great deal of chaos within the specific market of planetary materials. From the speculation if nothing else.
One final thought: even if an item will not be in exceptionally high demand after Incursion, there is profit to be made. So long as enough people believe it that the price of that commodity skyrockets. Cash out early, and often.