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Wednesday 9 November 2016

Eve Economic Report October 2016 - Activity nicely up

The monthly Economic Report for October is out.

In summary:

1) I am almost 100% sure the Trade numbers we are given are not counting Trade done in Citadels - see the reasoning below in Red.

2) The banning associated with Betting Sites likely saw 24 - 25 trillion ISK leave the game on 12 October, give or take a trillion.  (At $15 a Plex at 1.2bn that equates to $300k).

3) Activity is up across the game: Production; Mining; Destruction; imports/exports; Ratting; you name it.

Items of note from Regional Activity

Trade - up 7%

Trade finally rose in October for the first time since April.  Still 47% below the February level.

To put this in perspective, total Trade in October was 513 trillion ISK vs 977 trillion ISK in February.

Now, before i go further i will say right now that i suspect these Trade statistics we are getting do not include the Trade done in Citadels.  I covered this in a prior post when i tried to reconcile the Transaction Tax with the Trade we are told is being done.

For what it is worth, i believe that the actual Trade done in October is either 662 trillion ISK or 853 trillion.  I am leaning towards the 853 trillion.  Below is my reasoning:

Fact 1: From the Sinks and Faucets data we are told that the total Transaction Tax was 8.520 trillion ISK.

Fact 2: in February, March and April 2016 (i.e. before Citadels) the Transaction Tax (or Sales Tax) divided by the Trade value was always 1.00%.  That is not a surprise, the majority of the trade in Eve Online will be done by characters with Level 5 Accounting to minimise their Transaction Tax rate.

Assumption 1: I am assuming that the Transaction Tax rate will remain at 1.00% after Citadels.  That feels like a good assumption to me.

Observation 1: the Transaction Tax rate rose to 1.31% in May and has been rising ever since and is now 1.66% in October.  i.e. Transaction Tax = 8.520 trillion, Trade in October = 513 trillion, hence Transaction Tax rate was 1.66%.

Outcome: therefore, i am assuming the Trade number of 513 trillion that we are given is too low and i believe the Citadel Trade is not being counted.  If we assumed that the Transaction Tax rate remains at 1.00% then the actual Trade for October would be 852 trillion isk (=8.520 / 1.00%) which indicates that Trade done in Citadels was 339 trillion = 40% of all Trade done in Eve Online.

Furthermore: go back again to February, March and April 2016 and the "monthly ISK Volume" always equaled the Trade number within 50 or so billion.  Hence, Transaction Tax divided by ISK Volume = 1.00%.  However, since May the Transaction Tax divided by monthly ISK Volume now equals 1.29% for each and every month since April.  I can not explain why that would be.  But, it is too much of a coincidence to be ignored and suggests something is wrong with either the ISK Volume or Trade or Transaction Tax number.

That all said, lets stick with the Trade numbers we have and go from there:

The top 10 trade regions are below:

1 The Forge 372.1
2 Domain 56.7
3 Sinq Laison 19.6
4 Heimatar 9.2
5 Metropolis 7.8
6 Lonetrek 7.6
7 The Citadel 4.0
8 Providence 3.6
9 Essence 3.2
10 Tash-Murkon 2.0

No real change on September.  As expected the top Regions grew trade faster than the average - that is the way of life, trade will initially grow faster during a recovery in the regions where liquidity will congregate.

The Forge (Jita) remains dominant followed by the trade hubs of Domain (Amarr), Sinq Laison (Dodixie), Heimeter (Rens) and Metropolis (Hek).  Lonetrek remains in contention to take over from Hek - go back a few months and it was challenging to be the number 4 trade spot.  As usual, Citadel, Essence, Providence and Tash-Murkon make up the rest of the top 10.

As a reminder to new players, the main 5 Trade Hubs in the order we know: The Forge (i.e. Jita); Domain (i.e. Amarr); Sinq Laison (i.e. Dodixie); Heimatar (i.e. Rens); Metropolis (i.e. Hek).

Providence is a business friendly Null Sec space that borders several highsec Regions: Domain / Tash-Murkon / Devoid / Derelik.

To put The Forge (Jita) into perspective, 72.5% of all Trade (outside Citadels) is done there and this % has remained above 70% for a long time.  That would mean that Citadels are not displacing Jita but actually displacing all of NPC station Trade.

The other trade hubs though are a different matter.  Domain (Amarr) has 11.1% of all trade but that is on a declining trend.  It was 11.6% in March.  Sinq Laison (Dodixie) has 3.8% of all trade vs 4.2% in March.  Heimeter (Rens) has 1.8% of all trade vs 2.3% in March and Metrolpolis (Hek) has 1.5% of all trade vs 1.7% in March.

The only other Region commanding more than 1% of all trade is Lonetrek at 1.5% though it is also seeing a falling share over time.

I don't believe the falling share of the other Trade Hubs is due to Citadels, rather i suspect it is a feature of declining trade which penalizes the central trade Hub (Jita) last.  In a universe of declining trade, what is left will gravitate towards Jita as Buyers and Sellers seek each other out.

Transaction taxes rose 10%, so faster than trade.  Indeed, Transaction taxes fell slower than Trade in the summer months - more proof that we are not seeing all the Trade volume in these numbers.

Eye catchers of the month are:

Citadel is a fast growing Region with Trade up 27% to 4.0 trillion though still 12% down on February.

Outer Ring up 295% to 1.2 trillion - that looks like Blueprint buying ahead of mining barge changes?  Is some 224% above February.  The thing about buying and moving Blueprints is that it can be done in an interceptor and so the main risk is undocking or a lucky series of smart bombs at a gate.

Vale of the Silent is making another attempt to get into the top 10 with a rise of 9% to 1.8 trillion.

Contracts: another way of measuring the Economic activity in Eve is to look at the volume of contracts placed.  If i assume 10,000 ISK broker fee per contract then in October there were 18.9m contracts placed which is a 8% rise on September though up 10% since February.  The peak number of contracts occurred in April when 22.3m contracts were placed.

Office Rental Fees: office rentals fell 14% to 377 billion ISK, a new low since i have been watching the numbers since February.  In part, i suspect, due to the fall in Trade and so corporations pulling out of Trade Hubs such as Rens, Hek and Dodixie and also due to traders moving to the Citadels.  The Fees peaked in May, a month after the launch of Citadels, at 626 billion ISK.  In fact, Office Rental Fees are a rare example of a cost that fell in October.

Production - up 8%

Production rose 8% to 113 trillion ISK of items manufactured, now 10% above February levels but below the 145 trillion Citadel induced peak in May.

So, Production is up 10% since February but Trade is down 47%.  To me, this is a reflection of Corporations mining and processing their own raw materials for Citadel production rather than buying them from the market, or that the purchases were made in prior months to stock build, or the buying from the market was done in one step (i.e. not character A buying from the market to sell to character B who sells to character C etc but rather character A buying from the market to directly stock pile to manufacture a Citadel).  And, of course, i suspect the reported Trade numbers are understated.

Of note, Manufacturing costs as a % of the Value manufactured is running at 1.96%.  I.e. in September 113 trillion ISK of items were manufactured which cost 2.2 trillion ISK in manufacturing fees. 

The top 10 Production Regions for October are below:

1 The Forge 19.6
2 Lonetrek 12.7
3 The Citadel 10.0
4 Domain 6.4
5 Delve 5.8
6 Sinq Laison 4.3
7 Providence 3.5
8 Geminate 2.8
9 Deklein 2.3
10 Malpais 2.1

Delve is again the highlight rising 66% to 5.8 trillion and some 877% above February levels.  Has been gathering momentum since February.  Someone has clearly moved in.

Deklein, the home region of the losing side in World War Bee, is for the third month back in the top 10.

Two Trade hubs - Metrolopolis (Hek)and Heimatar (Rens) - are outside the top 10 and getting further away.

The Regions of The Forge and its neighbours Lonetrek and Citadel dominate - they were always big production centers but now take on the role as being where Citadels are being focused in High Sec to take business away from Jita.

For new player informaion - The Forge remains the top slot - makes sense, many people will produce near where they buy the raw materials and/or intend to sell the finished items.

Domain (Amarr) and Sinq Laison (Dodixie) are the other two major Trade Hubs - hence would expect Production to be there in volume as well.

Providence, is a Null Sec Region but borders several highsec Regions: Domain / Tash-Murkon / Devoid / Derelik and has a more inviting stance for players - hence we would expect to see it be up there in the Production rankings.

Notable risers since February that are now over 1 trillion ISK in production are: Cache up 91% to 2.0 trillion (that looks like a Citadel or two being built in there this month); Cobalt Edge up 160% to 2.2 trillion (again, looks like Citadel building in that region in October); Delve up 877% to 5.8 trillion; Estoria uup 74% to 1.7 trillion; Geminate up 44% to 2.8 trillion; Malpais up 585 to 2.1 trillion; The Spire up 439% to 1.3 trillion (that may be someone moving in); Tribute up 56% to 2.0% (again, looks like somone moving in).

Mining - up 14%

Mining rose 14% to 27.9 trillion ISK, a new high for 2016.  A strong indication that activity in the game is rising again.

Below is the top 10 Mining Regions in October:

1 Delve 2.0
2 Malpais 1.8
3 The Forge 1.4
4 Lonetrek 1.2
5 Domain 1.0
6 Cobalt Edge 1.0
7 Providence 1.0
8 Tash-Murkon 0.8
9 Metropolis 0.8
10 Sinq Laison 0.7

Delve continues its rise - now 7% of all mining in Eve is in this Region.  It used to be languishing in the 40s and now is the top Region for mining.  Note Delve is also in the top 10 for Production.  And Imports into the Region have been rising strongly in recent months.  Here, it seems we have a new home region or someone.

The Forge (Jita) which had been the solid leader until last month fell another place to number 3.  Over time, The Forge has been in mining decline.  This is also the case in the other Trade Hubs.  At the least, it appears that efforts to move mining away from the Trade Hubs regions is working.

Destruction - up 9%

Destruction rose 9% to 33.1 trillion and so bounced off the 2016 low set in September.

Insurance received rose to 5.4 trillion though this is still a low compared to the 7 - 8 trillion that was received in the months of the World War Bee.  As a percentage of items destroyed this is 16.3% - a new 2016 low.  We should not be surprised by that - players are less likely to insure when ratting than when entering a war zone to fight.  At the height of World War Bee Insurance Received represented 23% of all items destroyed.

Insurance premiums paid rose 5% to 2.5 trillion ISK and represents 8% of items destroyed.  Whoever runs the Eve Online insurance business is making a 3 trillion loss per month during peace time and a massive 4.5 trillion loss per month during wars!

Below is the top 10 Destruction in October: 

1 The Forge 2.2
2 Tribute 1.9
3 The Citadel 1.8
4 Providence 1.7
5 Black Rise 1.5
6 Lonetrek 1.5
7 Catch 1.4
8 Pure Blind 1.3
9 Domain 1.1
10 Sinq Laison 1.0

The Forge, as ever, remains top dog for destruction and represents 6 - 7% of all Destruction in Eve.  That has held steady in 2016.

Catch has been rising during 2016 and having flirted with the top 10 no seems a more permanent member.

Tribute has again sprung into life and re-entered the top 10 at number 2 - either we are seeing a few battles here or Citadels being destroyed.

Imports and Exports

I normally watch the Imports and Exports as an indicator on the travel of goods or, more recently, the movement of war.

That said, imports (and exports) rose 12.3% to 7.6 Trillion ISK which is a new 2016 high.

Whilst Trade may be down 47% since February, Imports / Exports are up 31% which represents the moving of Citadel materials around Eve..

Looking at trends: the movement into Delve continues; and we are seeing new signs of movement into Catch.  Perhaps Tribute also.

Items of note in the Sinks and Faucets

Sink = ISK leaving the game (i.e. Brokers Fees); Faucet = ISK coming into the game (i.e. Bounty Prizes).

In October there was an outflow of ISK into the game of 3.7 trillion ISK.  The amount of ISK in the game is 963 trillion ISK, below the peak March level of 972 trillion ISK.

The Betting Site bans occurred on the 12th October and appear to have taken about 24 - 25 trillion ISK out of the game.  Not a record - that is held by 43 trillion leaving the game on 31 May 2016 and 32.7 trillion ISK leaving the game on 20 August 2014 (banning of SOMER Blink).

Hence, also about 14 trillion ISK left the game over October due to accounts closing.  That 14 trillion is still on the high side compared to the more normal 10 trillion ISK and feels like we are seeing an extra 4 trillion ISK leaving post World War Bee.

The Betting Sites ban was a major headwind to what was an otherwise record net faucet of 34 trillion ISK into the game.

That said, without fail the lines of Sinks and Faucets show that activity is rising in the game.

Going through Faucets of note:

Bounty prices rose 17% to 52 trillion ISK - a new 2016 high and by far the largest faucet.

Incursion payments rose 5% to 10 trillion ISK though this is on a long term overall decline.

Going through the Sinks not talked about elsewere:

Transaction taxes were up 10% and Broker fees up 9% - both up more than the Trade value which, as i talk about at the top of the post, shows that the Trade number we are told is likely understated.

Blueprints rose 46% to 6.1 trillion ISK which reverses the decline we having been seeing since Citadel blueprint buying peaked and likely represents the renewed buying of Blueprints ahead of the mining barge changes.

Skills (book buying) rose 20% to  at 10.2 trillion ISK, bouncing off the lows that were caused by players selling Skill Points.

Asset Safety Recovery Tax rose 239% to 204 billion ISK - that is the side effect of Citadel destruction for you.

One odd item of note, there is a small sink called "Celestial", i have no idea what it is but it has a suspiciously round numbered outflow each month: Feb = 74.7 billion (i.e. an exact 74,700,000,000); March = 45.0; April = 2.7; May 8.1; June = 18.0; July 3.6; August 3.6; September 9.9; October 1.8.

Items of note in the Money Supply

Nothing to say this month other than the Betting Sites ban discussed above.

The greatest inflow of ISK into the game as a % of the prior day's ISK was on 17 October 2014 when 4.9 trillion ISK came into the game (=0.66% of the prior day's ISK in the game).  And indeed 18 October 2014 was the third largest day with 4.1 trillion ISK coming into the game.  Not sure why this would be: Plex went over 800m though that itself would not cause ISK to flow into the game; may also relate to SOMER Blink reimbursing prior deposits (see paragraph below).

The greatest outflow of ISK from the game occurred on 31 May 2016 when 43 trillion ISK left the game - now, i have no idea what that was about but looking down the other record outflow days shows that April / May 2016 features a lot and so must be related to buying Citadel Blueprints.

The second greatest outflow of ISK from the game occurred on 20 August 2014 when a massive 32.7 trillion ISK left the game (=4.3% of the prior day's ISK in the game).  Most likely to do with the banning of SOMER Blink from the game on that day.

To put this all in context, below are the top 10 inflow and outflow ISK days in Eve Online (UK date format dd/mm/yy):

Top 10 Inflow Days Top 10 Outflow Days
16/05/2016 38,266,990,704,582 31/05/2016 -43,005,264,398,399
14/05/2016 11,181,224,392,535 20/08/2014 -32,711,831,583,118
17/10/2014 4,918,151,977,811 12/10/2016 -24,850,862,704,804
02/11/2014 4,355,450,866,601 27/04/2016 -11,590,693,603,019
25/05/2016 5,617,788,337,856 13/05/2016 -10,585,123,745,593
18/10/2014 4,072,454,040,804 24/05/2016 -6,550,753,709,589
28/02/2014 3,520,746,585,466 18/05/2016 -6,041,579,702,193
28/03/2012 2,258,546,185,194 28/04/2016 -5,483,745,855,943
05/10/2015 3,770,661,569,226 08/01/2016 -4,849,236,603,559
30/10/2014 3,123,345,674,028 11/11/2014 -3,354,953,881,894

Player to Player Fees

This is a new piece of information.  Since PoCos players have been able to collect taxes from other players for the use of player owned facilities but the launch of Citadels and taken this a step further.  In October 3.6 trillion ISK (September 1.7 Trillion) was paid from one Character to another in the form of Citadel Broker Fees (1015 billion), Planetary Export Taxes (419 billion), Reprocessing Tax (132 billion) etc.  Seems Citadels are clearly on the rise.

Main points of interest for now are that:

Broker fees of 1015 billion compares to NPC broker fees of 10.3 trillion.  Hence, for now, we can say that Citadels command about 9.3% of the market (if we measured the market by the value of items placed on the market to Sell plus the value of Buy order placed on the market to be fulfilled).  However, worth remembering that in most Citadels the Broker fees are priced very low to attract traders - hence i suspect this 9.3% market share is understated.  I suspect it is somewhere between 20 - 40%, see at the top of this post.

Planetary Export tax of 419 billion and Planetary Import tax of 83 billion represent about 65 - 75% of the total tax collected which, as we would expect, shows that the player owned PoCos are almost everywhere.  Given NPC tax still applies at player owned PoCos (hence, the tax share of player fees can never get to 100%) i suspect we can be confident that almost every planet now has a player owned PoCo orbiting it.

Reprocessing tax of 132 billion represents 67% of the total reprocessing tax.  Now, for this one i need to work out if there is any NPC take at player owned stations, if not then it seems fair to assume the most Reprocessing is done at player owned stations (and i suspect player owned station tax is lower so that 67% understates the true market share).

Mapping all that onto Plex Prices

I greatly suspect players, like myself, use surplus ISK generated each month to buy Plex.  When i say "surplus" i of course mean surplus to all other requirements - at the end off the day, ISK sitting in my wallet will never grow.  It should either be about to be invested into my business or should Buy Plex.

Normally, there is 20 - 30 trillion of surplus ISK generated which, through the mechanisms of trading, makes its way nicely up to the business owners and bankers in Eve.  When i say "surplus ISK", i mean the difference between the Faucets and the Sinks.  The ISK that leaves with retiring players is not a factor in all this - though the absence of those retiring players may become a factor in future periods.

The players then park some of that ISK in Plex.  That is what makes Plex an inflation hedge - where inflation is defined as money supply.  That is, the rising amount of ISK in Eve.

As a rule, surplus ISK is normally generated by existing players each month.  However, we have had three recent events which have disrupted that flow.

Firstly, World War Bee, i suspect, will have seen a higher than normal selling pressure to finance the war.  For a few months that extra ISK generated went into financing the war and i suspect hoarded reserves of Plex were sold to help out.  That i suspect is now largely over.

Secondly, Citadel building will also have seen a higher than normal selling pressure to finance the cost of building Citadels.  That appears to be scaling back to more of an ongoing expense rather than the rush we saw recently.

Thirdly, the rise in Transaction Taxes and Broker Fees has added a further 5 trillion of additional ISK sink to Eve.  Worth noting that it was an additional 15 trillion ISK sink until players discovered "off-shoring".  That is here to stay though good to see player innovation minimizing its affect.  To put the changes in the tax system into perspective: in February 15.7 trillion ISK was spent on Transaction taxes and Broker fees as a result of 977 trillion ISK of trade; in October 18.8 trillion ISK was spent on Transaction taxes and Broker fees as a result of a mere 513 trillion ISK of trade.  OK, i get that Trade may be under stated but Broker Fee tax rate is up.

The Betting Site ban remains to be seen what effect it has.  It would be a drag on Plex if betting sites held Plex and had to sell to return ISK to players or if they had been net buyers of Plex historically - we will see.

The point here is that the recent headwinds to ISK generation are now lessening, indeed almost gone, such that we are again generating surplus ISK and so Plex rises have started to rise again in response.  When those headwinds were the strongest in April and May we saw ISK leave the economy and so Plex prices fell.  Prior to those months, ISK only left Eve on three prior occasions - August 2014, April 2014 and March 2014.