China Bids for Beans

As Midwestern farmers prepare to harvest this year’s soybean crop, they are being met with a welcome surprise: rising prices. On Friday, November soybean futures reached a six-week high at $9.85 per bushel as investors noted the low price and rising demand.

Bean prices have been climbing on news of better demand for U.S. soybeans, especially from China, the world’s largest buyer.

Additionally, there have been weather concerns in Brazil and Argentina, our biggest competitors for soybean sales. Both South American nations are preparing to plant the spring crop (seasons are inverted in the Southern Hemisphere), and weather setbacks could ultimately reduce their crop size and boost demand for U.S. exports.

Despite the recent rally, prices are still down sharply from their midsummer highs over $10.40 per bushel, a price reached when drought fears were sending the market skyward. Recent assessments by the USDA continue to show a record-breaking soybean crop this year, which has helped contain prices.