Last week I complained bitterly as someone put a small number of Onyxes up for sale 10 million ISK below current market value forcing me to do the same with two Onyxes of my own and lose out on 20 million ISK profit.
A discussion arose in the comments on whether he was an idiot or a market manipulator attempting to reduce the number of competitors or buy up a number of Onyxes at a lower price for resale or use in his alliance.
Well, last night I had 4 new Onyxes for selling and found the market in Amarr was not only back up to the 94 million mark, but also that the number of sellers and ships was depressed from normal. Was this the work of a market manipulator or normal market fluctuations? Its hard to say for sure since we can't see who sold what, who bought what, and for what prices. We can only see volumes and min-maxes in market history.
So there are a couple scenarios if we assume the "idiot" was actually a market manipulator:
1) He posts his Onyxes at 84 million as bait hoping to get other sellers to lower their price. Then he buys them all up for 10 million less than regular market value.
2) He posts his Onyxes at 84 million and most sellers realize its below their manufacturing/invention costs and move to more lucrative markets.
There is a huge problem with either of these however: since he only put a couple Onyxes on the market, there is nothing to prevent someone from buying them up and relisting them at a higher price thus costing him 10 million ISK per unit. The only way that kind of manipulation works is if you have more stock to keep the price low than a competitor can reasonably buy out for resale. Since the market has recovered its price AND there is not a large volume on sale, I assume that the most likely scenario is the "idiot" one that I posited in the first place.
As a side note, 3 of my four Onyxes have sold at 94 million so I'm a happy camper at the moment.