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Soybean Jul '19 (ZSN19)
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Contract Specifications for [[ item.sessionDateDisplayLong ]]
Barchart Symbol ZS
Exchange Symbol ZS
Contract Soybean
Exchange CBOT
Tick Size 1/4 cent per bushel ($12.50 per contract)
Margin/Maintenance $2,640/2,400
Daily Limit 95 cents per bushel ($4,750 per contract) Expanded limit $1.45
Contract Size 5,000 bushels
Months Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Aug, Sep, Nov (F, H, K, N, Q, U, X)
Trading Hours 7:00p.m. - 7:45a.m. and 8:30a.m. - 1:20p.m. (Settles 1:15p.m.) (Sun-Fri) CST
Value of One Futures Unit $50
Value of One Options Unit $50
Last Trading Day The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the contract month

Description

Soybean is the common name for the annual leguminous plant and its seed. The soybean is a member of the oilseed family and is not considered a grain. The soybean seeds are contained in pods, and are nearly spherical. The seeds are usually light yellow. The seeds contain 20% oil and 40% protein. Soybeans were an ancient food crop in China, Japan, and Korea and were only introduced to the U.S. in the early 1800s. Today, soybeans are the second-largest crop produced in the U.S. behind corn. Soybean production in the U.S. is concentrated in the Midwest and the lower Mississippi Valley. Soybean crops in the U.S. are planted in May or June and are harvested in autumn. Soybean plants usually reach maturity 100-150 days after planting, depending on growing conditions.

Soybeans are used to produce a wide variety of food products. The key value of soybeans lies in the relatively high protein content, which makes it an excellent source of protein without many of the negative factors of animal meat. Popular soy-based food products include whole soybeans (roasted for snacks or used in sauces, stews and soups), soy oil for cooking and baking, soy flour, protein concentrates, isolated soy protein (which contains up to 92% protein), soy milk and baby formula (as an alternative to dairy products), soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy nut butter, soy sprouts, tofu and tofu products (soybean curd), soy sauce (which is produced by a fermentation process), and meat alternatives (hamburgers, breakfast sausage, etc.).

The primary market for soybean futures is at the CME Group. The CME's soybean contract calls for the delivery of 5,000 bushels of No. 2 yellow soybeans (at contract par), No. 1 yellow soybeans (at 6 cents per bushel above the contract price), or No. 3 yellow soybeans (at 6 cents under the contract price). Soybean futures are also traded at exchanges in Brazil, Argentina, China, and Tokyo.

Prices - CME soybean futures prices (Barchart.com symbol ZS) posted the low for 2022 of $13.32 per bushel in January. Soybeans then soared to a 10-year high of $17.65 per bushel in February. Prices rallied due to drought in South America that undercut the crop prospects in Brazil, the world's biggest soybean producer and exporter, and in Argentina, the world's third biggest soybean producer. Also, Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February roiled global commodity markets and sharply reduced Ukraine's sunflower-oil exports, fueling increased demand for U.S. soybean oil. Soybean prices traded sideways within a $1 per bushel range into June when they jumped to a new 10-year high of $17.84 per bushel as a cold and wet spring delayed U.S soybean plantings. Soybean prices then came under pressure as beneficial summer weather boosted the prospects for the U.S. soybean crop. Also, a resurgence of Covid in China, the world's largest soybean importer, raised demand concern as the country's strict Covid Zero policy led to lockdowns and travel restrictions that shut down ports and curbed commodity demand. However, soybeans rallied by more than $3 per bushel from July into August as excessive heat in the central U.S. stressed soybean crops. Also, a surge in soybean oil prices underpinned soybeans when Congress extended a tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel through 2024. Soybean prices tumbled from mid-August into October on signs of a bumper U.S. soybean crop. In the August WASDE report, the USDA forecasted a record U.S. 2022/23 soybean crop at 4.531 billion bushels, above estimates of 4.473 billion bushels. Also, a soaring dollar made U.S. soybeans more expensive than South American supplies and weighed on U.S. export prospects after the dollar index rallied to a 20-year high in September. Soybean prices then stabilized and moved higher into year-end. Expectations of greater Chinese demand for soybeans pushed prices higher after it abruptly ended its Covid Zero policy in December. Also, excessive dryness in Argentina parched farms and delayed soybean planting. Soybean prices finished 2022 up sharply by +14.3% yr/yr at $15.19 per bushel.

Supply - World soybean production during the 2022/23 marketing year (Sep-Aug) is expected to rise by +8.4% yr/yr to a record 388.008 million metric tons. World soybean production has risen sharply from only 80 million metric tons back in the 1980s. The world's largest soybean producers in 2022/23 are expected to be Brazil with 39.4% of world production, the U.S. with 30.0%, Argentina with 11.7%, China with 5.2%, and India with 3.1%. Brazil's production has risen by almost eight-fold since 1980. China's soybean production has roughly doubled since 1980.

U.S. soybean production in 2022/23 is expected to fall by -4.2% yr/yr to 116.377 million metric tons. U.S. farmers are expected to harvest 86,336 million acres of soybeans in 2022/23, remaining unchanged since 2021/22 yr/yr, but still below the 2017/18 record high of 89.542 billion bushels. The average yield in 2022/23 is expected to fall by -3.7% yr/yr to 49.5 bushels per acre but remain below the 2016/17 record high of 51.9 bushels per acre. U.S. ending stocks for the 2022/23 marketing year are expected to fall by -19.7% yr/yr to 220.0 million bushels.

Demand - Total U.S. soybean distribution in 2022/23 is expected to fall by -1.1% yr/yr to 4.414 billion bushels. The distribution tables for U.S. soybeans for the 2022/23 marketing year show that 50.9% of U.S. soybean usage will go for crushed oil and meal products, 46.3% for exports, and 2.8% for seed, feed, and residual. The quantity of U.S. soybeans that will go for crushing is expected to rise by +1.9% yr/yr in 2022/23 to 2.245 billion bushels. The world soybean crush in 2022/23 is expected to rise by +4.2% yr/yr to a new record high of 327.323 million metric tons, which is about triple the level seen in 1993/94.

Trade - World exports of soybeans in 2022/23 are expected to rise by +8.9% to 167.532 million metric tons. The world's largest soybean exporters in 2022/23 are expected to be Brazil with 54.3% of world exports, the U.S. with 32.3%, Paraguay with 3.5%, Argentina with 3.4%, and Canada with 2.5%. Brazil's soybean exports have more than doubled in the past decade. U.S. soybean exports in 2021/22 fell by -10.4% yr/yr to 2.049 billion bushels.

World soybean imports in 2022/23 are expected to rise by +4.6% yr/yr to 164.318 million metric tons. The world's largest importers of soybeans in 2022/23 are expected to be China with 58.4% of world imports, the European Union with 8.8%, Mexico with 3.9%, and Egypt with 2.6%. China's imports in 2022/23 are expected to rise by +4.8% yr/yr to 96.000 million metric tons.

Information on commodities is courtesy of the CRB Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the Barchart product line. Please visit us for all of your commodity data needs.

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