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].
Corn is one of the oldest crops known to man. The Aztecs and Mayans cultivated the grain and helped popularize it as a staple crop in the Americas. Corn continues to be a main source of food for people today, and in fact, it is thought to be the second most cultivated plant in human history behind wheat. The yellow grain holds a fundamental role in the agriculture industry, serving as both a staple crop for humans and a necessary ingredient for livestock feed as well. Increasing populations and developing economies have contributed to an ongoing increase in food demand, thus broadly raising the prices of most agricultural commodities over the past few years. Rising fertility rates in regions like South Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa are contributing to the growing demand for food. While emerging economies, like South America, are contributing to an also rising demand for meat, which further … See the full story here
Wheat is one of the oldest, and arguably the most important crops in the world, primarily responsible for man’s movement to the cities in ancient times. The crop is relatively easy to grow, can flourish in a multitude of environments, and the crop tends to stay fresh for a long time, allowing food to be stored for a long-period. Today, wheat is one of the three most consumed grains in the world, second only to rice in terms of human consumption at just over 680 million tons a year [see also The Guide To The Biggest Companies In Every Major Commodity Sector].
Soybeans originated in Southeast Asia and Chinese farmers were the first to domesticate the plant and reap its rewards. The crop quickly became a staple in China, Japan, and Korea, while it wasn’t introduced in Europe until the 18th century. Soybeans quickly gained popularity and spread all over the world, reaching South America in the late 19th century. Today, Brazil and Argentina are top world producers of soybeans, while the United States leads the way in total production. Traditional uses include soy milk, tofu, and soy vegetable oil. Soybean meal is also a primary component of animal feed due to its valuable protein content and its relatively low-cost to produce. Interestingly enough, soybeans can produce roughly twice as much protein per acre as any other major vegetable or grain, making it incredibly appealing to producers and health-minded consumers.