Soybean futures are one of the most widely-traded commodities futures products in the world. The United States, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay are the biggest producers and exporters of soybeans in the world. China is the biggest importer of soybeans, with 60 percent of total imports, followed by the European Union, Mexico, Japan and Taiwan.
Soybeans originated and were first cultivated in China. Soybeans arrived in America in the early 1800s, but it wasn't until the 1940s that soybean farming took off in the United States. Soybean fields in China, the major supplier of the world at that time, were destroyed by World War II - which U.S. farmers took as an opportunity to produce the commodity.
Soybean futures began trading in 1940, while soybean oil futures got started in 1950. soybean futures are traded in an open outcry format and electronically through the CME Group , the Brazilian Mercantile and Futures Exchange (BM&F), Mercado a Termino de Buenos Aires (MATba), Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), Kansai Commodities Exchange (KANEX), National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) and the Tokyo Grain Exchange (TGE).
The market currently trades electronically around the clock except for a three-hour break between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Open outcry trading on the CME floor occurs between 8:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. CST.
Investors typically watch several reports for cues to trade soybean futures, including the following:
One of the most controversial influences in the soybean futures market is the concept of genetic modification, in which soybeans were modified to be resistant to herbicides by introducing genes taken from bacteria. Within a 10-year range from 1997-2007, the population of GMO soybeans increased from about 8 percent to 89 percent. GMO soybeans are now widely, if tentatively, accepted.
|Contract Symbol||Contract Unit||Price Quotation|
|ZS||5,000 bushels||cents per bushel|
|Trading Exchange||Trading Hours||Tick Value|
|CME GLOBEX||8:30 - 13:20,|
19:00 - 7:45
|1 cent = $50|