Trade Value is a recent addition to Stellaris. It represents the civilian section of an empire (for a non-gestalt species). What the Trade Value is used for, or converted into, depends on your empire’s Trade Policy but it can help shore up a weak area of your economy. You can also use trade value to create an economic powerhouse that can fuel a powerful military for “keeping the peace.”
Trade Value is converted into whatever your empire needs, based on the Trade Policy of your empire. All trade travels along trade routes that must eventually end up in your Capital before they can be converted into useful products, like Energy, Consumer Goods or Unity.
Stellaris Trade Policies
During the early game only three basic trade policies are available. The Trade Policy can be set to either Wealth Creation, Consumer Benefits or Marketplace of Ideas, each providing its own breakdown for converting Trade Value into either Energy, Consumer Goods, Unity, or some combination of these.
The Wealth Creation trade policy has the purpose of creating wealth. With this policy in place every unit of Trade Value collected is converted into 1 Energy.
A Consumer Benefits trade policy takes one unit of Trade Value and converts it into .5 Energy and .25 Consumer Goods. The focus of this policy is to manufacture and distribute the everyday products your empire’s population needs.
The Marketplace of Ideas trade policy emphasizes the free spread of ideas in your culture. It takes one unit of Trade Value and turns it into .5 Energy and .125 Unity.
How To Increase Trade Value In Stellaris
The most obvious method to increasing Trade Value is to find a region of space rich in Trade Value, build a Starbase in the center of the region and pack it full of Trade Modules. If there is a lot of Trade Value within three hyperlanes but after that the Trade value falls off then it makes sense to only have two modules at your Starbase.
There are other ways to increase Trade Value as well, and one of the easiest is right at the very start of the game.
Stellaris Thrifty Trait
The Thirfty Trait is a trait that costs 2 trait points and is available during the game set up. Giving your species this trait means that the Trade Value from Jobs is increased by 25%. A nice perk.
Merchants Guild Civic
Another option that is available during game set up is the Merchant Guilds Civic. To be able to use this Civic you can’t use the Exalted Priesthood, Aristocratic Elite or Technocracy Civic. This civic allows your Capital Buildings to employ Merchants, who can produce an immense amount of Trade Value. This Civic adds Merchant’s jobs, you still get the Politician and Enforcer jobs you would normally get with these buildings.
Stellaris Ethics That Increase Trade Value
Another option available during game set up is the Xenophile and Fanatic Xenophile Ethic. A xenophile Ethic increase the Trade Value throughout your empire by 10% plus it gives you an additional Envoy. The cost for this Ethic is 1 Civics point. The Fanatic version increases Trade Value by 20% and gives you 2 additional Envoys. The cost is 2 Civics points.
Although it might not be the first Tradition you adopt the Mercantile Tradition is certainly one of the most important if you seriously want to increase the Trade value in your empire. Simply adopting this Tradition increases your Starbase’s Trade Protection by 5 and its Collection Range by 1. This Tradition’s “Finisher Effect” gives you a 10% boost in Trade Value empire-wide and gives you access to the Trade League, a special Federation that focuses on Trade Value.
As part of the progression through this Tradition you can select Trickle Up Economics which gives your Clerks the ability to produce 1 additional Trade Value. You can also choose Commercial Enterprise, giving Commercial Zones 1 additional Merchant Job and Marketplace Ideas which gives a 10% increase in Trade Value.
Stellaris Habitats And Ring Worlds
Habitats and Ring Worlds, which are available later in the game can produce enormous amounts of Trade Value.
Habitats can be designated as Trade Stations which increases the build speed of Trade Districts by 25% and increases the Trade value of the station by 20%. Building a Trade District typically produces a bonus of 20 Trade Value, without any modifiers.
A Ring World can be designated as a Commercial Ring World which provides an increased Trade Value of 20% to it. You can build Commercial Segments which increase Clerk and Merchant jobs, which in turn increases Trade Value.
Trade Value Trade Routes
In order for Trade Value to be collected an Outpost must at be upgraded to the next level. All Trade Value is moved along trade routes, which are subject to piracy if left unprotected. To view trade routes, you need to activate the trade routes map mode. This map mode reveals all the trade routes that are taken by civilian ships and what the level of Piracy is along the route. Having a fleet of small ships like Corvettes patrolling the trade route will reduce or eliminate losses due to Piracy.
Each trade route can be displayed individually, allowing you to see exactly where your losses are occurring. You can also see the amount of Pirate Suppression for a fleet. Smaller ships are more effective since they are nimble enough to keep pace with the smaller Pirate vessels.
Stellaris Trade Value Collection Range
The initial collection range for starbase without a trade hub is its own system and everything within one hyperlane. Each additional trade hub extends that range by 1. Building a Hyperlane Registar building at a Starbase also increase the collection range by 1.
Starbases, when it comes to Trade Value, have three important ratings. The Collection Range, which was previously mentioned. They also have a Protection Range and a Trade Protection value.
Stellaris Starbase Protection Range
The Protection Range is how far out (hyperlanes) the starbase’s protection from Pirates extends. Protection range is increased by adding Gun Batteries, Missile Batteries and Hangar Bays, but of course that results in less trade hubs since those take up the same bays as Trade Modules. You’ll have less income from a trade route, but it will be better protected. Missile Batteries, Gun Batteries and Hangar Bays all increase the Protection Range by 1.
Stellaris Starbase Trade Protection
Trade Protection is how much of your Trade income is guaranteed protection by a Starbase. The same modules that increase Protection Range, fortunately, are the same modules that increase Trade Protection, so no precious space for Trade Modules will be lost. Gun Batteries and Missile Batteries increase Trade Protection by 5, a Hangar Bay increases Trade Protection by 10.
Trade Value Protection Range and Trade Protection can also be increased by building protective Starbases along Trade Routes.