Soybean Rollercoaster: Chicago’s Price Swings in October Impact Farmers and Investors


Chicago soybean prices experienced significant fluctuations during the second week of October, impacting farmers and investors. This article will discuss the implications of the USDA report, the state of soybean harvest in the United States, and Chinese soy imports during this period.

According to market researchers at the Central for International Economics and Agricultural Market Studies (CEEMA), Chicago soy futures prices displayed volatility throughout the week. On November 11th, the price per bushel plummeted to $12.52 USD. However, on October 12th, soybean prices surged in response to the USDA’s updated supply and demand report, reaching $12.90 per bushel, up from $12.80 the previous week.

The USDA report revealed optimistic projections for the soy market, lowering the final U.S. production estimate to 111.7 million metric tons. The United States maintained its final reserves for the 2023/24 crop year at 6 million metric tons. Globally, output was estimated at 399.5 million tons, with final global stocks decreasing to 115.6 million tons, a reduction of nearly four million tons from September. Brazil’s production remained steady at 163 million tons per year, while Argentina’s output remained at 48 million tons. China’s soy imports experienced no change, remaining at 100 million tons, the same as the previous year. U.S. farmers paid an average price of $12.90 per bushel in 2023, unchanged from September but lower than the predicted price of $14.20 for 2022/23.

Furthermore, the CEEMA report highlighted the state of soy harvest in the United States during October. Approximately 43% of the harvested area indicated progress, surpassing the historical average of 37%. The condition of the harvested lavouras ranged from 51% in good to excellent condition, 31% in regular condition, and 18% in poor to very poor condition.

In terms of Chinese soybean imports, China reported a 7.3% decrease in volume in September compared to the same month the previous year. This decline was attributed to high stockpiles within the country and the recent surge in international prices for soy. However, following a record harvest in Brazil, reduced prices led to an increase in demand for Brazilian soy in China. According to alfandegarian data, total Chinese soy imports rose by 14.4% year-over-year to 77.8 million metric tons during the first nine months of the year.

The fluctuations in Chicago soybean prices during the second week of October had significant implications for various entities involved in the soy market. Farmers faced uncertainty regarding their profits, while investors navigated through volatile market conditions. Attention will now shift to how these factors will continue to shape the soybean industry and influence future prices. With the ongoing dynamics of global supply and demand, it is essential to closely monitor developments within the soy market to make informed decisions.