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 Soybean Futures and Options Market Trading


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*The information contained within this webpage comes from sources believed to be reliable. No guarantees are being made to the content's accuracy or completeness.


The History of Soybeans and CBOT Soybean Futures Trading

Soybean future and soybean option contracts are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans originated in China and were first brought over by a Yankee Clipper in 1804 to be used as a balast that was discarded upon arrival in the U.S. It wasn't until 1829 when they were first were grown to be used to make soy sauce and later as a substitute for coffee beans.

George Washington Carver first tested soybeans to find out uses for them to diminish the dependence on cotton as the single commodity of the Southern economy. He invented soybean based varnishes, paints, inks, mayonnaise, salad dressings, linoleum, plastic and even fuel. Henry Ford and Mr. Carver partnered up and used soybeans to make plastic window handles, gas pedals and even dent proof trunk covers for many of the Fords built in the 1930's and 40's. The original diesel engine, invented by Rudolph Diesel, actually ran off of peanut oil based on Carver's research and today's diesel engines can run almost entirely on soybean oil. Using soybeans as a fuel product is just recently becoming investigated again because the high petroleum prices have made it economically feasible to use green fuels such as ethanol made from corn and sugar and bio diesel fuels made from soybean oil.


CBOT Soybean Futures and Options Quick Facts

  • 5000 bushel contract size

  • one cent move equals $50

  • trades Jan., Mar., May, July, Aug., Sep., Nov., Dec.

  • Soybean futures symbol (S)


Here is the grain and oilseed brochure courtesy of the CME Group.

Grain/oilseed brochure


Things to know about CME group soybean futures and options:

  • Soybean futures are a dollar denominated physical delivery 5,000 bushel (approximately 136 metric tons)

  • Primary uses of soybeans include livestock feed, edible oil and other foods

CME group soybean futures and options provide a way to:

  • Participate in global price discovery of soybeans

  • Effectively manage the price risk of soybean merchandisers, producers, food processors, livestock operations, importers and others heave related to the purchase or sale of soybeans

  • Take advantage of arbitrage and spread opportunities with other commodities including related grains, oilseeds and livestock

  • Identify short and long -term cyclical price and volatility patterns of soybeans

  • Trade to hedge or speculated based on expectations of directional price, spread movement or volatility in soybeans

Soybeans are vital for a diverse array of food and industrial products. They provide the raw material for livestock feeds, cooking oils, and salad dressings, not to mention industrial products, fungicides, and antibiotics. In the United States alone, farmers grow just under half the world's supply, and they remain a leading dollar-earner among U.S. agricultural exports. Soybean futures contracts and soybean option contracts are one of the most active of all the agricultural futures markets. Learn More >>>

Price stability is essential for those businesses that rely on soybeans for their manufacturing processes. Global supplies fluctuate continuously due to planting decisions made every spring, as well as variations in temperature and precipitation throughout the growing season. In addition, demand never ceases to change. As a result, prices can vary substantially from day to day. Many savvy farmers use soybean futures and soybean options to hedge their crops against adverse soybean futures price movements.

Ironically, soybean futures markets are perceived for their volatility, but, in reality, the markets provide the mechanism to ensure fairly consistent pricing of soybean and soy products. The price of cooking oil, for example, does not rise or fall to the degree of prices for unprocessed soybeans.


The Diversity of Soybeans

Q - What is meant by the term soybean complex?

A - The term refers to the soybean, its two principal by-products: soybean oil and meal, and their special interrelationship throughout the production, processing, and marketing processes.

Soybean oil remains the most widely used edible oil in the United States, with consumption exceeding that of all other fats and oils combined. It is a major ingredient in cooking oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and shortening. Lecithin is a natural emulsifier derived from soybean oil and, without it; chocolate would separate from cocoa butter and spoil many sweet moments.

Soybean meal is the dominant protein supplement used in U.S. livestock and poultry feeds. Soy products are also used to make baby food, diet-food products, beer and ale, and noodles. Technical uses include adhesives, cleansing materials, polyesters, and other textiles.

Soybean futures, soyoil futures, and soybean futures markets supply the mechanism for long-term business planning, which can lead to operational profitability for farmers, processors, livestock producers, and food manufacturers.

To see other grain futures visit corn futures and wheat futures.

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Indispensable Financial Tools

Q - Who can trade soybean futures and options?

A - Virtually everyone. Farmers, merchandisers, processors, and other hedgers in the agricultural commodity pipeline use CBOT soybean futures and options to manage prices. Soybean futures and options contracts are designed to promote better business planning, more consistent product quality and service, and increased operational profitability. Speculators also trade in the pursuit of profitable returns on their investments, even though they may not have direct involvement in agribusiness.

Here are some specific examples of why people trade soybean futures and soybean options:

  • A soybean processing plant uses soybean, soybean oil, and soybean meal futures to hedge its gross processing margin - the difference between the cost of soybeans and the eventual revenue of the finished oil and meal. Buying soybean futures protects against rising inputs costs. Selling soybean oil and meal futures protects against falling prices for the later sales of meal and oil. The risk-management program helps to stabilize costs and pricing, thereby giving the processor a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

  • Pursuing greater return on capitol, an attorney decides to trade commodities futures. After analyzing different data, she anticipates soybean futures prices to rise and, with the help of a broker, buys a soybean futures contract. Three weeks later, weather conditions reduce the harvest forecast and soybean futures prices rise. The investor sells her soybean futures contract at a price greater than what she paid for it, thereby profiting from the transaction even though her profession has no direct link to farming or food production. By participating in the soybean futures trading process as a speculator, she adds liquidity to the marketplace and provides hedgers with an outlet to transfer their risk.

soybean pods futures and options


*Contract information changes from time to time. Please click here to see the most recent contract specifications and click here for the most recent trading hours.


Soybean Future Contract Specifications

Soybean Futures


Contract Size - 5,000 bushels

Tick Size - $0.025/bu

Daily Price Limit - $0.50/bu

Strike Price - $0.25/bu

Contract Months - Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Aug, Sep, Nov

Last Trading Day - Seventh business day proceeding the last business day of the delivery month.

Trading Hours - (CME Globex) Sunday - Friday 7:00 pm -7:45 am CT (Open Outcry) Monday -Friday 8:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Central Time

Futures Ticker Symbol - S

Soybean Options


Contract Size - One CBOT Soybean Futures

Tick Size - 1/8c/bu

Daily Price Limit - $0.50/bu

Strike Price - N/A

Contract Months - Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Aug, Sep, Nov

Last Trading Day - Last Friday proceeding the first notice day of the corresponding soybean futures contract by at least five business days

Expiration Day - Unexercised options expire at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday following the last trading day.

Trading Hours - (CME Globex) Sunday - Friday 7:00 pm -7:45 am CT (Open Outcry) Monday -Friday 8:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Central Time

Futures Ticker Symbol - CZ- call;-PZ- put


**Click Here Now! for actual soybean futures and options quotes, prices, expirations, charts .....


Soyoil Futures and Options Contract Specifications

Contract Size- 60,000 pounds

Tick Size- 1/100 of a cent (0.0001) per pound ($6 per contract)

Daily Price Limit- 2.5 cents per pound expandable to 3.5 and then 5.5 cents per pound when the market closes limit bid or limit offer.

Contract Months- January (F), March (H), May (K), July (N), August (Q), September (U), October (V) and December (Z)

Last Trading Day- The business day prior to the 15th calendar day of the delivery month

Trading Hours- (CME Globex) Sunday-Friday 7:00 pm-7:45 am CT and Monday-Friday 8:30 am-1:15 pm CT

(Open Outcry) Monday -Friday 8:30 am-1:15pm CT

Futures Ticker Symbol- Globex (ZL) Open Outcry (BO)


Soymeal Futures and Options Contract Specifications

Contract Size- 100 short tons

Tick Size- 10 cents per short ton ($10 per contract)

Daily Price Limit- $20 per short ton expandable to $30 and then to $45 when the market closes at limit bid or limit offer.

Contract Months- January (F), March (H), May (K), July (N), August (Q), September (U), October (V) and December (Z)

Last Trading Day- The business day prior to the 15th calendar day o fthe contract month.

Trading Hours- (CME Globex) Sunday -Friday 7:00 pm-7:45 am CT and Monday -Friday 8:30 am -1:15 pm CT

(Open Outcry) Monday -Friday 8:30 am -1:15 pm CT

Futures Ticker Symbol- Globex (ZM) Open Outcry (SM)


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Copyright 2004-2015 TKFutures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The information presented in this commodity futures and options site is not investment advice and is for informational purposes only. No guarantees are being made to its accuracy or completeness. This information can be considered a solicitation to enter into a derivatives trade. Investing in futures and options carries substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for some people. Past or simulated performance is not indicative to future results.