November 3

Wheat Trading: 26 things you should know before you start

Last Updated on 3 November, 2022 by Samuelsson

Here are 25 things I wish I knew about wheat trading before I started as a wheat trader. There are trading strategies, futures contract specifications, and a lot more. 

1. What is wheat trading?

Wheat trading is the buying and selling of wheat contracts or instruments in order to make a profit.

2. What is wheat?

Wheat is a cereal grain derived from the seed of the grass, Triticum spp. It is a staple food all over the world and has been cultivated since 9600 BC. In fact, evidence indicates that the ancient Egyptians produced wheat and baked bread.

3. What are wheat futures?

The term wheat futures refers to futures contracts that allow traders to buy or sell a contract today to be settled at a future date. Wheat futures are standardized, exchange-traded contracts in which the contract buyer agrees to take delivery, from the seller, a specific quantity of wheat (eg. 5000 bushels) at a predetermined price on a future delivery date.

4. How is wheat traded?

The commodity wheat is traded at several exchanges. The two biggest ones are Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and NYSE Euronext (Euronext). Wheat futures prices are quoted in USD and cents (USD) per bushel. Wheat futures market track the price of wheat. Wheat futures are great for traders who wish to get access to the wheat market in an easy way, yet at an affordable price.

5. How much is 5000 bushels of wheat?

It is approximately 136 tons.

6. Wheat Futures Trading Strategies

The wheat futures market is easily accessible for retail traders, and provides some great profit opportunities. We ourselves have wheat trading strategies in our portfolios, and they provide nice diversification in times when other markets are choppy and unstable. In fact, wheat futures trading strategies can be a great market to trade when a nice bull or bear run appear.

If you are interested in edges for agricultural futures and specifically Wheat futures trading strategies, you can check out our futures trading strategy club and membership, where you’ll get a new edge sent right to your inbox each month!

7. How do you start trading wheat futures?

To start trading wheat, all you need to do is to create an account with the exchange through your futures broker and deposit the required margin. Since it is a leveraged instrument, you need not have the full dollar worth of the contract before you can trade it. However, you have to be cautious about leveraged instruments — while you can make more money with them, you can also lose more.

8. What is wheat trading at?

The prices of wheat can be found here.

9. What is the current price of wheat and wheat futures?

You can also find the current wheat prices here.

10. Whats wheat futures trading hour?

CME Globex:
Sunday – Friday: 7:00 p.m. – 7:45 a.m. CT and
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. CT

11. Where can I find trading charts?

Here you can find wheat trading charts.

12. What are the trading symbols for wheat?

CME Globex: ZW
CME ClearPort: W

13. What is the contract specification for the wheat futures contract?

specification wheat futures contract

14. What is wheat used for?

Wheat is used for quite a number of things, but food production represents the main use:

Human food: Wheat is rich in many nutrients, including the essential vitamins, such as the B vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium. With a 13 percent protein content, wheat has more protein than any other major cereal. It, therefore, makes sense that the major use for wheat is in food production.

Pharmaceuticals: The gluten in wheat is used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce capsules.

Cosmetics: Wheat germ is very rich in vitamin E, so in the cosmetic industries, it is used to produce skin creams, body lotions, and bathing soaps.

Paper industry: Gluten is used in paper production to coat paper products.

Livestock feed: Wheat is used in making animal feed

Biofuels: Sometimes, wheat is used in producing bioethanol, which is a major ingredient in gasoline, but the role of wheat in ethanol production cannot be compared to that of corn.

15. Who are the largest producers and consumers of wheat?

Wheat is grown in different parts of the world. The top producers include China, India, Russia, the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Pakistan, Australia, and Ukraine. Most of these countries consume what they produce, so the top producers are not necessarily the top exporters. Russia tops the export table, followed by the European Union, the US, Canada, and Australia.

In terms of wheat consumption, China tops the list, followed by the EU-27, India, Russia, the United States, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Brazil, and Algeria. The regions that import the most wheat are North Africa, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. Trades are mostly carried out through futures contracts.

16. How much wheat is being produced?

At an annual production of more than 730 million metric tonnes as of 2017, wheat is the second most-produced grain after corn. It is also the second most-consumed grain after rice. Thus, it is a very important commodity in the global market. In the commodity market, wheat futures contracts are categorized, according to the grain properties, into specific classes — hard red winter, hard red spring, soft red winter, durum, and white wheat.

17. Why should you trade wheat futures contracts? 

Trading agricultural commodity futures contracts can be very profitable if you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. There are many reasons to choose to trade wheat futures contracts, and these are some of them:

Diversifying your portfolio: If you have been playing in the financial market for a reasonably long time, you will know that it is very risky to invest in one asset class, such as stocks or bonds. Commodities like wheat offer you the chance to spread your investments across different asset classes, thereby reducing some systemic risk.

Hedge against inflation: Paper currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, are backed by the government, and their values are often at the mercy of the government’s monetary policies. Since wheat is a commodity with a tangible value, its prices increase when the value of the U.S. dollar depreciates due to rising inflation.

Betting on the growing demand for wheat: As the global population increases, the need for food commodities such as wheat increases, pushing up the demand for the commodity. Apart from the demand from human consumption, wheat is increasingly being used for the production of bioethanol because of the need for renewable energy. So, it is possible that wheat demand will exceed the supply and push prices up.

18. What is wheat seasonality?

Here is a chart showing the seasonal tendencies of the wheat futures market month to month. 

Wheat Futures (W) Seasonal Chart

19, How to trade wheat futures market?

The best approach to playing the wheat commodity market is to trade the futures contracts. Wheat contracts trade on the Tokyo Grain Exchange, Euronext, and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), which is a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group.

A wheat futures contract on the CBOT is equivalent to 5,000 bushels or about 136 metric tons, and it normally expires on the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, September, and December. Settlement, at expiration, is by physical delivery of the commodity. Traders who do not want to make or take delivery of the commodity can roll over their positions to the next expiration month.

Through the CME Globex electronic trading platform, the contract can be traded from anywhere, both during and after regular market hours. Futures contracts are leveraged instruments — you only deposit the required margin to carry the full contract.

20. What factors make wheat prices go up and down?

There are so many factors that can affect the prices of wheat futures contracts, so as a wheat trader, you need to watch out for them. They include the following:

Weather Events: Weather conditions can play a role in wheat production and pricing. Adverse weather conditions, such as drought or too much rain, may reduce production and increase wheat prices, while ideal weather conditions can boost yield and force prices down.

The value of the U.S. dollar: Just like other commodities, wheat futures contracts are quoted in U.S. dollars, so when the currency is weak, wheat prices increase and when the currency is strong, wheat prices fall.

Important data reports: There several periodic reports that significantly move wheat prices. Some of them include:

  • the USDA Monthly Supply & Demand
  • the Weekly Export Sales
  • Commitment of Traders
  • Spring Wheat Crop Condition
  • Spring Wheat Crop Condition
  • the USDA Prospective Planting Report

21. What is the tick size of wheat futures?

Tick size is $12.5 for wheat futures.

22. How do you invest in wheat?

You can invest in wheat via futures contracts, options, CFDs or ETF.

23. Are there an ETF or stock for investing in wheat?

There are several ETFs tracking wheat. Here is one: WEAT

24. Where can I find news about wheat futures?

Here is a good source for news for the wheat market.

25. What is the all time high of wheat?

Wheat reached an all-time high of 1350 in March of 2022.

Yes, you can short wheat futures.

Conclusion

Wheat is a staple food in all parts of the world. It is among the most actively traded commodities. The best way to play the wheat commodity market is by trading the futures contracts, which trade on the Tokyo Grain Exchange, Euronext, and CBOT.

Here is our archive with articles about other tradeable futures markets.


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