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Up to date as of February 07, 2010

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The Grand Exchange on World 1
Location on World map
Edgeville Grand Exchange Varrock Palace

The Grand Exchange (also referred to as the GE) is a trading system for players to buy and sell almost every tradeable item (currently 6,032 items) with any other player from any world. Traders don't need to meet up with each other, and they don't need to wait at the Grand Exchange for their trade to complete. All coins and items from partially and fully completed trades are collectible at any bank (but not at bank chests or deposit boxes). This trading system is similar to modern real-life stock exchanges.

The Grand Exchange also refers to the location of this trading system: a large official market area north-west of Varrock city.

It was released on 26 November 2007 and has since completely replaced the older marketing areas trademark of Varrock and Falador.


Getting to the Grand Exchange

The Grand Exchange is located north-west of Varrock.

The Grand Exchange is located north-west of Varrock city. Players can get to the Grand Exchange in four different ways:

  • Teleporting to Varrock and running north-west. (NOTE: The teleport location can be changed to the entrance of the Grand Exchange instead of the Varrock centre square upon completion of the Varrock Achievement Diary which is members only)
  • Using the shortcut tunnel north-west of the Grand Exchange. (Requires level 21 Agility)

Any players without Agility level 21 can walk past the guards south of the shortcut and walk East to G.E.

Traders and Merchants

In the Grand Exchange, there are merchants (Identified on the map by what they give information on). They will give prices of what they are identified. They are not exactly correct, but in the range.

An NPC specialist displaying the prices of certain weapons and armours. The cubes are item sets.

Item sets

Main article: Item set
Jagex's Official Grand Exchange Guide: Item Sets

The dwarf cannon and most armours can be assembled and traded as a set, rather than having to trade them individually. This has the advantage of requiring only one trading slot and banking slot. To assemble and disassemble any set for free, talk to a GE clerk. Right-clicking a set and clicking destroy will not convert it back into its parts.

Price Mechanics

Prices are partly governed by the Law of Supply and Demand:

  • If an item is in high demand with low supply, the price will increase.
  • If an item is in low demand with high supply, the price will decrease.
  • If the demand for an item is matched by its supply, the price will remain fairly constant.

Using the law of supply and demand, prices are automatically updated depending on their recent trading volume and prices. For items with low volume, such as party hats, their prices may only be updated every few days or even once a week. Prices are also partly governed by trade restrictions (see section "Trade Restrictions" below).

If the buyer's bidding price is higher than the seller's asking price, then the GE instantly completes the transaction at the price of the earlier offer. For competing offers, the Grand Exchange prioritises earlier offers over later offers (other things being equal).

Jagex has not published the Grand Exchange's exact pricing algorithms.

Trading Tips

Gnome Scarf's price over a 30 days period.
  • It is possible to bargain at the GE by waiting to see whether a trade goes through and adjusting the price if it doesn't. You should make fires, cook, alchemise, or superheat while waiting. This way only a tiny amount of time is purely used for bargaining.
  • An offer is inactive if it has moved outside the ±5% price range, therefore it is important to check offers occasionally.
  • Some processed materials are cheaper than raw materials, i.e. cut gems are cheaper than uncut gems. This is partly because processing the raw materials give experience, i.e. 50 crafting experience for cutting an uncut sapphire.
  • Advices suggesting what a player should buy or sell specific items are possibly manipulative. (See section "Price Manipulation" below.)
  • The North American School Schedule. According to almost all items' graphs from the GE Database, prices increase when school gets out during mid-June. Prices stay high and steady throughout the summer, and drop in early September when most American students return to school. Prices then rise slightly throughout the winter because of snowy days and winter break. In spring, prices generally stay the same or drop, because many American students begin to play outside in the nice weather. Prices begin to rise when long-term investors begin to prepare for the "Summer Spike," and rise drastically in mid-June.

Before the Grand Exchange

Before the Grand Exchange, players used to buy the stuff that they need from the General Store. Also, before the Grand Exchange, you could sell items for very low prices, such as the Dark cavalier for 50gp. You can now sell them for 51,000gp.

Trade Restrictions

Every trade restriction is intended to reduce price manipulation, real world trading, and/or unfair interaction between low level and high level players.

On the issue of price manipulation, Jagex said, "We are keen to keep a player-driven economy, so the prices are worked out using the supply and demand rules above. We will only intervene as a last resort, and only if we think price manipulation is going on, although the system has lots of safeguards to prevent that."[1]

Absolute prices: ceilings & floors.

Some items cannot be traded above or below certain prices. The maximum price allowed is called a "ceiling," and the minimum price allowed is called a "floor." Spirit shards have a fixed price, which means they have an identical ceiling and floor.

This trade restriction is intended to reduce price manipulation. Some examples:

  • Popular alchemizable items often have floors slightly above the coins generated by high alchemy, which discourages money less leveling.
  • Items with infinite supply in NPC shops had ceilings and floors close to NPC shops' prices, which discouraged low-level players from buying from NPC shops and selling to high-level players through GE. For example, some high-level players used to pay 100 coins for each jug of water and used them to create wine, which means low-level players could fill empty jugs with water and gain up to 246000 coins per hour! Price ceiling reduced this cooperation, and the ceiling was relaxed when infinite shop stock was replaced with personalized shop stock.
  • Items used by both low-level and high-level players, such as water runes and earth runes, usually have prices beyond the low-level players' budget because high-level players can easily outcompete them. For example, a level 19 mage needs about 180 coins to cast one curse spell. Price ceiling reduces this competition.

Unfortunately, ceiling and floor create some overvalued items (also called "junk" items), and some undervalued items which have to be traded for junk items. Jagex has a sticky thread on its forum for players to provide feedbacks about specific items' ceilings and floors. [1]

Jagex has not published a list of items displaying each item's ceiling and floor.

Relative prices: ±5% limit.

It is compulsory to buy and sell all items within ±5% of its current market price, unless there is a ceiling or floor, in which case the ceiling or floor takes priority. Any offer outside of this ±5% range is inactive. This restriction is entirely intended to fight price manipulation and real world trading.

Buying & selling rates

The following trade restrictions are entirely intended to fight price manipulation.

  1. It is not possible to sell any quantity of the item that you previously purchased using the GE, unless 4 hours has passed.
  2. It is not possible buy more than some quantity of the same item every 4 hours. The exact quantity is shown in the following table:
Item Max quantity per 4 hours Item Max quantity per 4 hours Item Max quantity per 4 hours
Woodcutting Fishing & Cooking Fletching
Log 25,000 Raw fish 20,000 Arrow 10,000
Ashes 10,000 Food 10,000 Arrowtip 10,000
Mining & Smithing Herblore Bow   5,000
Ore 25,000 Herb 10,000 Bow string 10,000
Bar 10,000 Potion 10,000 Unstrung bow 10,000
Crafting Vial 10,000 Feather 10,000
Soft clay 10,000 Runecrafting Flax 25,000
Hides 10,000 Rune 25,000 Armour & Weapon
Gem   5,000 Talisman   5,000 Armour     100
Jewellery   5,000 Summoning

Barrows & Dragon

Armour / Weapons

Battlestaff     100 Spirit shard 10,000 God Wars equipment       10
Prayer Proboscis     100 Treasure Trail armour         2
Bone 10,000 Discontinued item         2
Construction Farming
Flatpack     100 Seeds 1000
  • The buying restriction on any armour applies to all armours of the same set, i.e. maximum of 51 bronze platebodies and 49 bronze platelegs every 4 hours. This includes armour from treasure trails.
  • Failure to buy or sell something, could be because of these trade restrictions rather than because nobody is selling or buying.

Tradeable items not traded over the Grand Exchange

Some items are tradeable using the traditional player-to-player trade, but are not tradeable using the Grand Exchange. The list includes:

Economic Effect

The Grand Exchange replaces genuine merchants

The Grand Exchange has made genuine merchants almost obsolete. The list below outlines the only legitimate role of every genuine merchant, and then shows that the Grand Exchange has fulfilled this role almost perfectly—far better than every human merchant.

  1. All genuine merchants have exactly one legitimate role: to decrease the overall transaction cost.
  2. Transaction cost is the cost of finding someone to trade with, bargaining and enforcing a trade agreement, and transferring the agreed goods and/or services.
  3. The Grand Exchange finds someone to trade for us. It searches every trade, always and every world.
  4. The Grand Exchange bargains for us. If the buyer bids higher or equal to the seller’s asking price, then the Grand Exchange instantly completes the trade. If not, then it doesn’t—but in this case genuine merchants cannot profit anyway. If the buyer bids lower than the seller’s asking price, then genuine merchants cannot profit by buying from the seller at some price and later selling to the buyer at a lower price. Also, when a trader bargains at the GE by waiting to see whether a trade goes through, he or she can make fires, cook, alchemise, or superheat while waiting. This way only a tiny amount of time is purely used for bargaining.
  5. The Grand Exchange enforces trade agreements for us. It guarantees that each person keeps his or her end of the bargain.
  6. The Grand Exchange transfers the items halfway for us. We still have to bring the items to the marketplace, but the GE brings the items from the marketplace to our collection box. We can collect them at any bank, and all we had to do was teleport to Varrock and run to the GE once.
  7. In summary of 1 through 6, the Grand Exchange has made genuine merchants almost obsolete.

Price Manipulation

Every price manipulation uses deception and/or coercion, which is why it is wrong to intentionally manipulate prices. Price manipulation is generally considered to have two main types and several subtypes; they are categorized differently because they work somewhat differently. (The fact that they work somewhat differently is why more than one solution is needed.) The two main types are disclosure-based manipulation and trade-based manipulation.

Disclosure-based Manipulation

"This occurs where a person [discloses] false or misleading information which has the effect of misleading other participants about the value or trading volume of a security."[2] (Every tradeable item in runescape is a security.)  Disclosure-based manipulation is fraud.

Pyramid scam

How some merchant clan leaders are using a pyramid scam on people, in five steps:

  1. Some merchant clan leaders secretly buy lots and lots of the same item.
  2. They recruit and mislead people into buying the same item at a higher price, thus raising the item's price.
  3. They encourage people to recruit even more people, thus creating a pyramid.
  4. They set a "dump price" for everyone to sell.
  5. They either secretly sell their item before this dump price is reached, or they suddenly announce a new dump price; in both cases many people are still buying the item. What these people are misled into buying is the item they are secretly or suddenly dumping.
  • Steps 2 through 5 are highly overlapping.

Trade-based Manipulation

"This is the buying or selling of a security by a person [or group] which misleads or deceives other participants about the value or trading volume of that security.”[3] It has many subtypes, but only two significantly damage the runescape economy: matched orders and corners.

Matched orders, pools, and wash sales

These are almost identical and will be treated identically. Someone places an order to buy, and matches it with an order to sell: the buyer and seller are the same person. This transaction is fake because nothing is really being transferred. Matched orders manipulate prices by faking a supply and demand. A group can do this too.

Matched orders also mislead other people into overestimating the trading activities of the security that’s being manipulated, and thus—for slightly technical reasons—mislead them into underestimating the transaction cost of that security.

Matched orders and genuine orders are currently nearly impossible to differentiate on runescape. We can only imagine account#1 posting an order to buy a dragon pickaxe for an unusual price, and account#2 selling it for a similarly unusual price. Repeated enough times and the price isn’t so unusual anymore, and that’s when the manipulation succeeded. We can also only imagine 2 millions lobsters being bought and sold for the same price on the GE, and so the GE accounts for those numbers when it updates the price of lobsters, but the GE currently doesn’t know whether the buyers and sellers were the same person. We don’t either. Again, matched orders and genuine orders are currently nearly impossible to differentiate on runescape.

Corners or squeezes.

Someone buys something, raises its price, and then sells it to another person. In this transaction, a cornering merchant intends to raise price by merely monopolizing his or her competitors, whereas a genuine merchant intends to raise price by at least decreasing the overall transaction cost. (Transaction cost is the cost of conducting a trade: the time and effort of finding someone to trade with, bargaining and enforcing a trade agreement, and transferring the goods and/or services.) Corners manipulate prices by monopolizing a security in a way that increases overall transaction cost, and this additional transaction cost burdens other buyers but not the manipulator. Again, a group can do this too.

The New Zealand government defines corner this way: A corner is where “a person [or group] buys up a substantial volume of a security knowing that other market participants will be forced to buy from him at a higher price.”[4]. Other buyers are forced to buy from a cornering merchant because they are left with few alternatives—the manipulator had already monopolized his competitors. By contrast, other buyers are not forced to buy from a genuine merchant because of two reasons: first, a genuine merchant often has competitors or the threat of potential competitors; second and most importantly, a genuine merchant saves them some trouble of finding someone to trade with, bargaining and enforcing a trade agreement, and transferring the goods and/or services.


Implementing the GE.

The GE was released on 26 November 2007. Before the GE, Jagex had several legal issues with "real-world trading organizations." These organizations use bots and/or sweatshop labor to harvest raw materials, and then either sell the raw materials to NPC shops or amass them in a "farm system." Their virtual wealth is then traded to players for real-world money. Some of these organizations were using real-world trading for money laundering or as a fund-raiser for some other criminal activities. These organizations operated on both free and member worlds, and Jagex claims that their member accounts were often using stolen credit cards. The payments from stolen credit cards sometimes had to be refunded, in which case Jagex lost money.

The GE was implemented alongside with a restriction on player-to-player trades: You cannot transfer more than a net wealth of 3,000 coins. This trade restriction was intended to weaken real-world traders and every type of price manipulation, but it also hurt genuine merchants and other honest players. Players' complaints caused Jagex to gradually relax the restriction its current level, which is 5,000 for zero quest points; 10,000 maximum for free players; and 60,000 maximum for members.

The GE was also implemented alongside with a staking limit, to stop real world trading via staking.

Initial economic effects.

Genuine merchant activities were previously some of the most profitable methods of earning coins, but the GE has made genuine merchants almost obsolete. This means all items' transaction costs had greatly decreased, and in turn, most items' prices had decreased:

Rune equipments' prices dropped significantly after a few months. Items traded on both free and members worlds were averaged by the GE. For example, cooked lobsters were traded for 250 coins in free worlds but 200 coins in member worlds, and so the GE price was 220. Discontinued items, especially party hats and Christmas cracker, were primarily used in staking and so their prices dropped significantly after the removal of staking. A few items' prices, however, increased after the GE's release. For example, bones were previously not worth the effort to collect and trade, but then their prices quickly increased to about 100 coins.

On 10 December 2007, a series of updates eliminated macros, which were a major source of raw materials. As a result, prices for raw materials that were previously gathered by macros, such as yew logs and raw lobsters, increased to a higher level than their pre-GE level. Yew logs increased from about 350 coins during pre-GE days to about 450 coins after the update. Raw fishes are now generally worth more than cooked ones, except for manta rays and sea turtles (because of the potential value in cooking it yourself). The prices of raw and cooked fishes are now generally similar to their prices several years ago when macros were not a major problem.

Players' initial reactions.

Most players embraced the release of the GE because it greatly reduced their transaction costs (see above section "GE replacing genuine merchants"). Some players, however, criticized the trade restrictions, especially the ±5% trade restriction and the player-to-player trade restriction. Other players criticized Jagex's lack of transparency because Jagex has neither published the GE's pricing algorithms nor the price ceiling and floor of each item.

Some players view the GE as a form of totalitarianism, a political system in which a central authority controls the economy and culture. This claim is largely without fact however, as most of Jagex's actions mirror that of Keynesianism, in the use of government intervention to decrease inflation or recession. The economy is driven by players, but many times Jagex has intervened by raising the prices of items that were significantly below their high alchemy prices, and by correlating the prices of similar items despite the fact almost all players priced them differently. For example, empty jug and jug of water have identical prices, and full potions and partial potions have proportionate prices. Jagex's interventions have discouraged players from using high alchemy to effortlessly train magic, and since high alchemy was a major source of coins, the lack of coins from high alchemy contributed to a deflation called the 2008 Market Dip.

The 2008 Market Dip

Main article: 2008 Market Dip

In August 2008, the prices of numerous expensive items—godswords, barrows armours, abyssal whip, and high-level treasure trails armours—began to decrease for various reasons. This led to a collective social problem. The players, as individuals, reacted rationally by selling those items to prevent further personal losses, which collectively caused those items' prices to drop further and thus worsening the deflation. By 4 September, prices reached a plateau for most items and even started to rise for some items. By 31 October the market dip was over, although some expensive items were still millions of coins below their prices in August.


A bug where bankers and clerks are missing. Also an example of disclosure-based price manipulation: "Join clan x to make billions!"
A bug where players could search without being near the GE.
  • The maximum offer is 2,147,483,647 coins or simply 231−1 coins. This is the maximum value of the Java int type in 32 bits.
  • 26 Nov '07. Release date of the GE. Players could talk to various NPCs the same way they could talk to GE clerks. Players could not withdraw items from the GE or cancel offers, because items were stored in an older system which wasn't working properly with the GE's system. Many items had market prices enormously lower than their street prices, i.e. pirate's hat at 127 coins and gnome scarf at 1,284 coins. Also, Players could stand on any square adjacent to the GE desk and use a bowstring with an already strung yew longbow, which caused a message to appear in their chat box: "You can't light a fire here."
  • Both the Hands sculptors at the entrance are left hands, not left and right. Which could be a reference to having two left feet, which in turn means being a bad dancer.
  • 1 July '08. The HD graphical update prevented the progress bar of some players' trade offer from changing colour whenever the offer was completed or canceled. This was fixed after the RuneTek 5 engine update.
  • 11 Nov '08. Release date of Stealing Creation. The sacred clay arrows were listed on the GE even though these arrows don't exist outside the mini-game.
  • 9 June '09. A game engine bug prevented players from talking with the GE bankers and clerks, although players could still access the GE through the desk.
  • 26 Aug 09. Items are collectible as noted or un-noted, simply by left-clicking or right-clicking the item.
  • 17 Sept '09. Two bankers and two clerks were fired by Mod Alan, because the multiple bankers and clerks created redundant right-click options. The firing caused a bug for several months, where all bankers across Runescape couldn't talk to players, although right-clicking the bankers' desk allow players the option to use quickly.
  • 8 Nov '09. A bug in World 2 caused the Grand Exchange bankers and clerks to vanish for several minutes, along with their banking and trading functions.
  • 10 Nov '09. The desk now only has the examine option.
  • For some unspecified reason, players are able to use the GE search box without being near the GE. This still has not been fixed and is a result due to lag where a player will disconnect for a few seconds after having the full GE interface open then after it re-establishes it will close everything except the GE search bar.
  • If a player with a Godsword stands next to the desk and faces it, the Godsword blade will either disappear or appear to go through the middle of the desk due to the vast amounts of players present causing lag.
  • In the apex of the arch, on high detail, you can see the image of a bear.
  • After the release of the GE if you searched the exact name of "Andrew Gower," the owner of Jagex, it would display a smiley face as a item result, though after you clicked on it, it would disapear and tell you that there are "no matching items found." This was fixed the week after the release.

See also


  1. ^ Jagex. The Grand Exchange. Game Guide.
  2. ^ New Zealand goverment's Ministry of Economic Development. Part II: What Is Meant by Market Manipulation and Should it Be Regulated?. Reform of Securities Trading Law: Volume Two: Market Manipulation Law.
  3. ^ New Zealand goverment's Ministry of Economic Development. Part II: What Is Meant by Market Manipulation and Should it Be Regulated?. Reform of Securities Trading Law: Volume Two: Market Manipulation Law.
  4. ^ New Zealand goverment's Ministry of Economic Development. Part II: What Is Meant by Market Manipulation and Should it Be Regulated?. Reform of Securities Trading Law: Volume Two: Market Manipulation Law.

External links

This article uses material from the "Grand Exchange" article on the Runescape wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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