The June MER Sees Mineral Prices Sag as High Sec Takes Over Mining

We got the EVE Online monthly economic report for June late last week, and it is an interesting one for a few reasons.

EVE Online nerds harder

First, June was a month of relative peace in null sec, the last few weeks before the start of World War Bee.  Since the war kicked off on July 5th, June will be a nice baseline to see how much of an impact the war has.

Second, June shows a bit of a change in the trend since CCP’s mineral starvation plan kicked off.  For the last few months, as the company has choked off the mineral flow the price, so far as the measurement they use in the MER is concerned, has been going up.  But that ended in June. Mineral prices went down… a bit.

June 2020 – Economic Indices

The price isn’t down a lot, just to about where it was in April when prices were nearing the end of their long rise, but that is still a change.  All three indices, the PPPI, the SPPI, the CPI, and the MPI were down in June.

Third on the list is where mining has been happening.  High sec regions have always been part of the mix on this list, usually the three closest to the markets in Jita and Amarr, but null sec regions have dominated the list since I started writing posts about it.  Last month that had changed up and 6 of the top 10 regions were high sec.  This month the top 10 has only 1 null sec regions.  The list for June:

  1. The Forge – 1.38 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Domain – 1.16 trillion (High Sec)
  3. Sinq Laison – 1.08 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Metropolis – 1.07 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Lonetrek – 1.04 trillion (High Sec)
  6. Everyshore – 780 billion (High Sec)
  7. The Citadel – 742 billion (High Sec)
  8. Tash-Murkon – 720 billion (High Sec)
  9. Heimatar – 666 billion (High Sec)
  10. Fountain – 635 billion (Imperium)

Fountain is in 10th place.  Delve, which rang in 1.78 trillion in mining in May to top the list didn’t even make the cut in June, landing in 11th place with 607 billion ISK. Oasa, which was in 6th position in May with 1.35 trillion landed in 19th spot in June with just 502 billion ISK mined.

The drying up of anomalies and minerals available from moon mining operations appears to have hit hard.  I know that some of the mining platforms in Delve, which sit on nearly every moon in the region, have remained idle as running a frack wasn’t deemed worth the effort.

High sec regions totals are down, but only a bit, maybe in the range of what might be explained by the drop in prices.  But null sec mining is way down, far beyond the ability of a small price drop to explain.  You can see how the regions stack up these days, with high sec regions on top now.

June 2020 – Mining Values by Region – Bar Graph

The total value mined for June was 24 trillion, down from 29.54 trillion mined in May, a drop that one can only attribute to null sec mining much less.

Then, the last item on the interest front, there are NPC bounties, long a staple of null sec income.  Things are still going strong there, even increasing some.

June 2020 – Top Sinks and Faucets Over Time

They changed the long standing colors for the different lines on that chart and I was confused momentarily as my brain knew that NPC Bounties should be the orange line.  Now it is the blue line.  And the blue line went up in June.  That happens when there is some breathing room in null sec, a bit of peace.  A total of 54.2 trillion ISK in NPC bounties were paid out in June, up from 47 trillion ISK paid in May, which says that there was simply more ratting going on.

And who did the most ratting?  Here are the top ten regions:

  1. Oasa – 4.81 trillion (PandaFam)
  2. Delve – 4.10 trillion (Imperium)
  3. Cobalt Edge – 3.74 trillion (PandaFam)
  4. Branch – 3.09 trillion (PandaFam)
  5. Fountain – 2.86 trillion (Imperium)
  6. Perrigen Falls – 2.60 trillion (PandaFam)
  7. The Kalevala Expanse – 2.03 trillion (PandaFam)
  8. Esoteria – 1.86 trillion (Legacy)
  9. Malpais – 1.78 trillion (PandaFam)
  10. Insmother – 1.72 trillion (Legacy)

PandaFam appears to have taken over as the biggest group of crabs in null sec, though the expansion of that coalition to include Fraternity and a few other alliances living in the northeast no doubt help boost those numbers.  But that is a lot of ISK coming in, though in the regions where they are doing their ratting there are not many close by systems with NPC stations, so super carrier ratting, now much less common in Delve, has likely not had to slacken as much for PandaFam.

So there it is.

Now, the question is, what will July look like?

Mineral prices dropped even as mineral supply dropped, which seems to suggest that demand, driven by manufacturing, had fallen off.  Now there is a war going on in null sec.  There have been runs on the market for some ships.  At one point there were barely two dozen Muninn hulls in Jita.  Will mineral prices resume their climb with the increased demand?

With forces deployed to staging systems, will mining and ratting in null sec taper off as well?  Or will the fact that so many combat pilots are now down in the southeast of null sec mean that those in more distant regions… looking at PandaFam here… mine and rat even more?

And will the ADM fleets being run by the Imperium boost the numbers in Delve?

As a bonus question, what will the total destruction number in New Eden be for July?  In June it was 45.67 trillion ISK destroyed, with the top ten regions being:

  1. The Forge – 3.06 trillion (High Sec)
  2. Lonetrek – 2.40 trillion (High Sec)
  3. The Citadel – 2.19 trillion (High Sec)
  4. Sinq Laison – 2.17 trillion (High Sec)
  5. Black Rise – 2.15 trillion (Low Sec)
  6. Domain – 2.02 trillion (High Sec)
  7. Delve – 2.02 trillion (Imperium)
  8. Metropolis – 1.60 trillion (High Sec)
  9. Vale of the Silent – 1.15 trillion (mixed small groups)
  10. Fountain – 1.09 trillion (Imperium)

If the war is really a big deal, we should see a rise in destruction in the regions being attacked (Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and Querious) as well as adjacent regions where the attackers are staging (Aridia, Catch, and Paragon Soul).

We will have to wait until next month to get the July numbers and find out.

But if you want to look at the June numbers and see all the data behind them, you can download the whole package as from CCP.

3 thoughts on “The June MER Sees Mineral Prices Sag as High Sec Takes Over Mining

  1. anypo8

    The number I always watch for in these reports is Velocity Of ISK; it seems to me a good measure of how active the playerbase is. It’s also something to keep in mind when interpreting the other indices: if players aren’t out there buying, prices tend to drop even if production goes down as people draw on their huge inventories to sell. As far as I can tell, there’s little value in just-in-time production in New Eden.

    The VOI numbers this time continues a depressing trend for the game. I have a vague suspicion that CCP’s economy is increasingly being driven by cash shop rather than subscription as established players continue to unsub and new players continue to barely trickle in.

    That said, if this new war continues to escalate, it will be good for the economy. We shall see.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anypo8 – I would be more invested in the Velocity of ISK metric if I could map it to some other behavior in the game, some other measure in the report moving with it, either up or down. VOI sort of maps to PCU, which would make some sense, but it doesn’t map closely enough to convince me. For 2020, as mineral prices have gone up VOI has gone down, but the slopes are so different that they might not be related. It does line up with volume of trade, but since the calculation for VOI is based on trade and total ISK, of course it does. I was hoping it would align with total destruction, with the idea that loss drives the economy, but destruction has been flat while VOI has been on a down slope.

    This may, of course, be me just not seeing the right correlation that goes with VOI, or that VOI is impacted by enough factors, including the ones I have mentioned, that it charts a course of its own.

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  3. anypo8

    @Wilhelm My belief, which may be unfounded, is that VOI is mostly a measure of game participation by veterans: they’re the ones who have big stacks of ISK to throw around when playing. My suspicion is that a decreasing VOI to PCU ratio means that whales are leaving the game or at least taking an extended break, leaving their ISK locked up. This would make sense in terms of the changes CCP has made over the years. The only question in my mind is how the PCU is staying up: is there an increase in new player retention as CCP has long hoped for?

    The wildcard in all this is botting RMT: as CCP removes RMT bots from the game the VOI/PCU is going to go down, so maybe that’s all this means.

    I dunno. I wish CCP would re-hire at least a part-time economist: I smell trouble.

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