Played by the market

18th August 2009 – 5.28 pm

When looking for materials for my manufacturing runs I have previously found a stash of minerals for sale at a bargain price, whereupon I snap up the entire stock, take what I need to use, and sell the surplass back on the market at a marked-up price. This gets me the minerals I needed at a reduced price, but if I hadn't needed some of the minerals the same principle could have been used to make a quick profit, buying goods low and selling them high, which gets me thinking of the possibilities of making some easy ISK.

A new batch of missiles comes out of my manufacturing lines, ready to be sold on the market, only for me to find that the market has been swamped by someone undercutting all the current prices. Whilst some of the material costs have been reduced lately, because of supply and demand, it is difficult to see how any significant profit can be made by selling the items so cheaply, or why it is worth the capsuleer's time making so many items for what can only be pocket change in profit. Never the less, with my previous success in buying and selling low-priced items I feel bold. I buy all the stupidly cheap missiles and relist them at the higher and previously reasonable price, hoping to take advantage of the price differential to make a profit for little effort.

With my experience in manufacturing I am expecting the huge quantities of missiles I buy not to be replaced within weeks, allowing me to reap the profits in the mean time. But, despite my instincts, it seems that it is possible to produce many more missiles in a short period of time, as within a few days a new supply of missiles is placed on the market at a ridiculously low price. The price is low enough that if I were to remain competitive it would not be worth my time spent manufacturing and shipping the missiles, a single level two mission earning around the same profit. Unfortunately, it means I am left with a massive stock of missiles that are now unlikely to sell.

The turnaround on missiles is quite high, but not high enough for the deluge of stock placed on the market to sell within a couple of weeks. I am left wondering what to do with my millions in invested product. I am tempted to write-off most of the expenditure and simply get as much of my ISK back as possible, selling the missiles at a slight loss. However, I am not quite foolish enough to spend so much ISK without effectively having it to spare—I just prefer having real and not potential ISK—and as the missiles will not perish I could hold on to the stock to sell once the market improves. I explore another option too.

I head to the EVE Online Agent Database and find some agents that are likely to give frequent encounter missions for missile-using capsuleers. Locating a few possible agents I check the market prices in their systems and see that if I move my stock from my normal markets across to these different systems it is possible I could exploit a price differential caused by the the inconvenience of travel times in New Eden. Of course, this inconvenience applies to me when hauling the missiles to the new market but, as the saying goes, time is ISK.

Spending some time hauling stock from the small range of systems in which I normally trade to a new set of locations takes a while, as I have several trips to make, but once the stock is moved I can rely on my trading skills to monitor the market price and alter my orders appropriately, to help ensure I remain competitive. Being able to modify orders remotely becomes invaluable in instances like these.

With any luck, and a bit of judgement, I should be able to sell most of the stock for a profit, although it will still take a fair amount of time. Even if I don't, at least it means I won't run out of missiles for my Drake for the next year. Maybe playing the market is best left to industrialists with deeper pockets, or those who actually take the time to monitor market trends.

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