Manual trading with ships (via Trade menus)
Manual trading involves the player sending their Trade or Mine ships to to collect a ware and sell it somewhere else. Ideally for a profit, but maybe you'd like to pay over-the-odds sometimes, such as when looking around for wares needed for construction. The collection of wares could entail the mining of harvestable resources, as mentioned above, or more-commonly picking up wares produced by a station.
Each successful trade improve reputation with station owner faction. Gained reputation proportional to transaction value. You need to trade goods with cumulative worth about 6 000 000 000 Cr to gain 30 relation with faction. Manual trading (and mining) overlaps with the related 'ware shortage' missions. They are a bit bugged and the source of on-going investigation by Devs but in the meantime, the guide here can help.
As of Rebirth 4.00, two menus are available for trading:
Trade Offer menu (shift+T)
- A multi-purpose menu offering a variety of ways to find particular offers.
- Presents all known offers (your property; NPC property you've visited recently, or with Trade Agents on).
- Able to view all sale offers, or all purchase offers.
- A broad-ranging text filter allows you to focus on, for example, object names, zones or wares.
- Available directly, or via a station or CV's Detail Menu (in order to quickly see offers just for that station/CV).
- Possible trades can be ordered in various ways, such as by 'price per unit as % difference from mean price per unit'.
Trade Deals menu (shift+Y)
- The counterpart to the Trade Offers menu, introduced in Rebirth v4.00, streamlines regular trading.
- Only presents deals (where player knows a matched sale and purchase).
- Incorporates a cargo hold filter, like blackmilan's mod, that restricts presented deals to those the selected ship can carry.
- Possible deals can be ordered by distance, investment or profit.
- For deals involving wares on player-owned stations, the sale price is displayed in the Profit column.
- When ordering the menu by Profit, an estimate for player-owned wares is used (probably sale price vs average price).
Useful info from elsewhere on the web:
- NPC ships and Trade Reservation have been explanation by Burnit! (link; Oct 01, 2015).
- Station Match Finder, for matching ware production and needs by EuRoKa (link; Nov 10, 2014).
- Station building guide by Simoom (link; Feb 18, 2014).
Personal trading via Skunk
As above, but there may be a few traders on the station that have different prices for their wares; worth checking if you want to buy a bunch of green marines or sell off your illegal wares from a distance! There is no transport fee for /selling/ but there is one for /buying/ - see below
Black market traders are not available to view in the general Menu <Enter-5>, but still can be found in the Dock NPC list (if selected) when you open the Details screen; therefore you can sell illegal wares while out of reach of police ships, remotely.
All trader prices and inventories are randomised, so if you see 2 traders of the same type, they may have different prices. Sometimes you can buy from one and sell to another for profit without leaving the platform or station.
Every remote trade adds a 2500 Cr transport fee. <Check whether this is per item type or per total transaction. Does it apply in the same way to remote capship crew hire? - Snafu>
High reputation with the trader's Faction will give a discount on items (capship or personal trading). A limited time discount for the individual trader or their station can also be achieved as Smalltalk reward (discount variable on how far & successfully you succeed with the smalltalk minigame)
As of v4b the 'hidden wares' for crafting now seem personalised to their regions, so you are far more likely to find diamonds or gems in DV stations, while OL is more likely to provide spaceflly-related wares.There is a small chance of finding anything, but it's not worth the effort of searching if you're after a specific item
Note that you will /never/ get products for crafting rare equipment: you won't gain> Eggs or <Rare> JD components from tunnel-diving no matter how much you search!