X4: Foundations – Trading Station Guide and Price List

How to Build a Trading Station and set prices for profit.

Where / What Should I Trade?

I recommend building your trading station in a central location, convenient to AI wharfs/shipyards and your own production stations.

I like to trade the important wares- hull parts, claytronics and their precursors.

Once you have more storage space and a few Ls you can expand to high-volume wares like food and medicine.

Building a Trading Station

A Trading Station is the simplest type of station you can build in X4. In fact, you start the game with all the blueprints you need.

I would recommend having at least a few million credits before building a trading station. You will need seed money to buy wares.

All a Trading Station needs is a dock and a container storage module. That’s it. 1 or 2 of the small container modules is fine to start with. You actually don’t want a ton of storage at the start because you won’t have enough money to fill them up with wares.

Once your trading station is established you can add more docks, piers for L freighters and more storage as required.

Warning: Do NOT build any production modules on your trading station. It will confuse your manager.

Managing a Trading Station – Basic

Once you have a station with a dock, container storage and an assigned manager, you can start setting up the wares you want to trade.

Look to the bottom left of the Logical Overview window and click “Add Wares”. Select the wares you want to trade and click confirm at the bottom of the window.

Now you have to set up buy and sell orders for the wares. Click on each ware and click on Buy Order or Sell Order, respectively. Configure as follows…

Storage Amount: AUTO or set manually. The manager will divide the storage equally among wares if left on auto. Limiting this amount can be useful if you don’t have a lot of cash.

Buy/Sell Amount: AUTO

Buy/Sell Price: Set according to the tables at the end of this guide. You can leave it on auto but you won’t make money reliably.

That’s it. Once your prices are set and the station has some seed cash in its account AI traders will start buying and selling items from your station. You can also assign your own traders to speed things along. Keep in mind that a satellite network is necessary when using player traders – they need to have knowledge of trade offers in their operational range (Up to 5 jumps, determined by manager skill).

Managing a Trading Station – Advanced

You can further target your trading station’s activities with trade restrictions.

Trade restrictions are set up in the Global Orders menu. Each ware’s buy and sell orders can have an individual Trade Restriction set, which allows you to control the flow of goods.

I usually set up 3 sets of trading rules.

  1. Internal: All factions restricted, wares on this setting will only be traded with player owned stations.
  2. Ally: Hostile and neutral factions restricted.
  3. Unrestricted: This is the default setting.

Let me illustrate a few use cases for you.

Case 1: I want to funnel wares produced by my station through the Trading Station.

All I have to do is set the wares at my production stations to the Internal trade rule and set their price to minimum. If the ware has buy and sell orders set up at the trading station my freighters assigned to the trading station will automatically pick up the wares and deliver them to the trading station, where they can be offered for sale.

If you want your trading station to supply your production stations, the inverse is true. Set the buy order at the production station to Internal and maximize the buying price.

Case 2: I have a station on the Argon/HOP border and want to funnel wares to one faction or the other.

Again, the solution is simple. Leave the buy orders unrestricted and set the sell order to your Ally trade rule. The station will buy cheap wares from both factions but only sell them to your friends.

Price List – Commmonwealth Economy

The following is a list of prices for use with trading stations. There is a column for a 20% spread (Buying at 90% of average and Selling at 110%) and a column for 30% spread (Buying at 85% and Selling at 115%). Round to the nearest whole #, since you can’t use decimal prices ingame.

Recommended for You


  1. Can the PHQ be used as a trading station if you are not making any research? or will it confuse the admin?

    • So far as I can find, it can. I haven’t myself since I use it more for terraforming, but so long as you set up the buy/sell orders correctly, I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

  2. Mercury has about 600%+ in Sunlight Intensity if I remember correctly, so large production for Energy cells. I am guessing a repeat order with a large freighter to Oort can last hours without draining the energy station.

  3. Use it more as a guide than an exact measure, it takes time for the economy to balance as when you start a new game the game is balanced to give you an advantage. So at first there are too many people buying things at high prices, so you will be able to make money, the trade center should be something you do after many many many, hours of play.

  4. One thing I’ve found in my test games is that the Terrans are much more resource oriented than the Commonwealth. Arbitrage trading opportunities are scarce. I’ve had the most success in Terran space with mining.

    If you have an L class freighter you can long-haul energy cells from Mercury to Oort Cloud. I was seeing a million+ in profit per trip but a round trip takes about a half hour.

  5. So far as I can find, it can. I haven’t myself since I use it more for terraforming, but so long as you set up the buy/sell orders correctly, I don’t see why it shouldn’t. But the AI is a bit wonky as it is in X4, so don’t quote me on that…

  6. This guide is an absolute godsend, it’s a crime it hasn’t been up-rated more. Looking forward to the update for the Terran economy

  7. For all those who do not know, after using my spread sheet your only make 33% profit, you are buying a 33% of margin above min and selling for 67% of max price…. I recommend adding up last 10 sales and purchase from station log using station trade ships only to get your average buy and sell prices. use search bar in station log to filter ware.

  8. The table at the end does not take into account that different wares have different inherent spreads between their minimum and maximum values. Using spread as you’ve defined it, the possible max spread of wares range from 20% (computronic substrate) to 110% (the 4 illegal goods). Most goods range somewhere between 30% and 80%. For example the 30% spread values listed in table for Computronic Substrate are impossible to use in game, and for another 11 wares, the 30% columns represent the min and max possible values in game, which are really not sensible values to use in a trading station generally IMO.

  9. There is no option to “add wares” in the logical overview. Does anyone have a screenshot or a video? I can not for the life of me figure out how to set prices at my station.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.