1. Introduction to Commodities
  2. Commodities: Cocoa
  3. Commodities: Coffee
  4. Commodities: Copper
  5. Commodities: Corn
  6. Commodities: Cotton
  7. Commodities: Crude Oil
  8. Commodities: Feeder Cattle
  9. Commodities: Gold
  10. Commodities: Heating Oil
  11. Commodities: Live Cattle
  12. Commodities: Lumber
  13. Commodities: Natural Gas
  14. Commodities: Oats
  15. Commodities: Orange Juice
  16. Commodities: Platinum
  17. Commodities: Rough Rice
  18. Commodities: Silver
  19. Commodities: Soybeans and Soybean Oil
  20. Commodities: Sugar
  21. Commodities: Wheat
  22. Understanding Commodities Trading

Nearly 100 years ago, the A. E. Staley Manufacturing Company began to crush soybeans, a key innovation that led to the creation of soy oil – used in cooking – and soy meal – used for feeding chickens and hogs. Today, the soybean is one of the world’s most important legumes and is an important source of protein.

Many soybean traders use a strategy called the crush spread, in which they buy one contract of soybeans while simultaneously selling one contract of soybean oil and one contract of soybean meal. This is done to create a hedge against supply and demand factors.

Contract Specifications – Soybeans

Ticker Symbol

ZS (CME Globex)

Contract Size

5,000 bushels

Contract Months

F, H, K, N, Q, U, X

Trading Hours

CME Globex: Sunday – Friday, 8:00 p.m. – 8:45 a.m. and

Monday – Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.

Last Trading Day

The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month

Price Quote

Cents per bushel

Tick Size

$0.0025 per bushel ($12.50 per contract)

Contract Specifications – Soybean Oil

Ticker Symbol

ZL (CME Globex)

Contract Size

60,000 pounds

Contract Months

F, H, K, N, Q, U, V, Z

Trading Hours

CME Globex: Sunday – Friday, 8:00 p.m. – 8:45 a.m. and

Monday – Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.

Last Trading Day

The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month

Price Quote

Cents per pound

Tick Size

$0.0001 per pound ($6 per contract)

Production

The majority of soybean crops are allocated for vegetable oil and animal feed. While tofu, soy milk and other soy products have gained popularity in recent years, only a small portion of the crop is used for such foods. The U.S. produces more soybeans than any other country, followed by Brazil, Argentina, China, India, Paraguay and Canada.

In the U.S., soybeans are the dominant oilseed crop (others include cottonseed, sunflowerseed and canola), accounting for about 90% of total oilseed production. Most soybeans in the U.S. are planted in May and early June and harvested in late September and October.

Price Drivers

Soybean prices are influenced by the following factors:

  • the demand for biodiesel
  • strength of the U.S. dollar
  • real and perceived health hazards
  • emerging market demand
  • growing conditions

Commodities: Sugar
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