The summer of 2013 has been notably cooler than the scorcher that 2012 brought, but August saw the heat turned up on the U.S., having a marked impact on a number of commodities. Soybeans, in particular, have seen their prices spike, as the hot and dry weather of the last few weeks has taken its toll. The run higher could throw a wrench in the commodity’s standard cycle, making it all the more difficult to trade [for more soybeans news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Déjà vu all over again. It was about this time last year that much of the U.S. was engulfed in a crushing heatwave that injected a fair amount of volatility into the commodity world; namely in the agriculture markets. With the U.S. dominating the production of a number of big name crops, the recent heatwave has caught the attention of a number investors looking to cash in on the trend [for more agricultural commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With Summer temperatures topping out around the United States, the heat could have consequences beyond rising electric bills. Corn and soybean crops will reach maturity over the next few weeks, but the dry heat affecting growing areas of the US could erode crop conditions. As the historically largest exporter of soybeans and corn, U.S. farmers have a lot of pressure to ensure a strong harvest this year but analysts are already predicting another rough summer for the commodity supply [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
In the world of agribusiness, there is no name more prolific then Monsanto Company (MON) – the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate and the second biggest producer of genetically engineered seeds. With a market cap of over $54 billion, investors pay close attention to this bellwether, following the company’s news and key earnings report [for more agricultural news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With applications in oils, animal feed and in our own meals, soybeans have become a staple crop in the U.S. and many other nations. While soybeans are originally from Southeast Asia, with Chinese farmers among the first to domesticate the crop, the U.S. currently both produces and exports more than any country in the world. But holding the majority of the world’s supply of this legume has made the U.S. extremely vulnerable to a new trend that looks to have a big impact on the commodity’s price [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
One of the most talked-about global trends in recent years has been the rapid growth in population. As emerging markets around the world enter periods of robust growth, their populations have also been on the rise. Though a growing worldwide population will certainly cause a number of issues, it will also present commodity investors with a fair amount of opportunities, as some hard assets represent a great way to profit from the current trend [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Backwardation and contango are two phenomena that define the futures industry of the commodity world. Though the terms have come handcuffed with a negative connotation, those who understand how they work should not sweat their existence. Backwardation is the process by which near month futures are more expensive than those expiring further into the future, creating a downward sloping curve for future prices over time. Contango, simply, has the opposite impact [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
On Tuesday, the CME Group announced that it will reduce grain and oilseed trading hours to 17.5 hours from 21 hours. This comes after last year’s largely controversial expansion, which got significant backlash from traders, brokers and agricultural companies alike. Managing Director of Agricultural Commodities and Alternative Investments at CME Group, Tim Andriesen stated that “Over the past several months, we have received significant customer feedback about the current CBOT grain trading hours. While there were varying opinions about what the modifications to hours should be, we believe these changes balance the needs of our diverse global customers based on their feedback” [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The agricultural industry was hit hard by the most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years in 2012, which had an impact on crops, livestock and food prices at all levels. While prices have already started to increase in the fourth quarter of 2012, the majority of the impact on retail food prices will likely be seen throughout 2013, according to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) analyzing the drought [for more agricultural news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].