Wheat trading is undertaken by many speculators that look to profit from the volatility of the value of one of the most produced commodities in the world. There is a wide range of brokers and exchanges that support securities and derivatives that can be used to invest in or speculate upon the price of the asset, alongside many strategies that can be used. This 2023 wheat trading guide will explore the economics behind the cereal, how to get involved and some strategies to get you started. We have also listed the brokers we believe to be the best for wheat trading below.
Top Wheat Trading Brokers
What Is Wheat Trading?
Wheat is a cereal grain and is second only to corn in terms of those with the highest volume produced in the world, making it a popular option for trading. Many people’s diets across the globe are reliant on wheat, which is used to produce food products like cereal, bread and flour. Although the main purpose of wheat is to produce foodstuffs, it can also be used in the production of paper, soaps and much more.
The sheer volume of wheat production and the fact that it is produced across the world makes it volatile, which is often the case when trading commodities. It is this volatility that attracts speculators to the market, who, rather than being interested in actually taking delivery of wheat, are simply predicting which way its value will go next so they can profit.
History Of Wheat Trading
Wheat dates back many centuries, though it was only in the 19th century that it began to be traded in a way that would be recognisable today. The CBOT, which is the world’s oldest futures and options exchange, was founded in 1848 and provided a centralised location through which commodities could be exchanged, truly changing the face of commodity trading.
Today, wheat trading occurs on exchanges in other parts of the US and across the world, including in European and Asian markets. China and India are currently the two largest wheat producers in the world. Whether you are based in India, Australia, Pakistan, the US, the UK or somewhere completely different, there are likely many direct traders near you, as well as those that invest indirectly through companies linked to the wheat markets.
Depending on where you trade in the world, some wheat markets are subject to standards and rules. For example, Grain Trade Australia (GTA) exists to form standards for those purchasing, selling, trading, brokering or operating in the commercial grain industry.
What Influences The Price Of Wheat?
Many of the factors that influence the price of wheat are common to other commodities. In many developing countries, relatively small changes in people’s income and the size of the economy may lead to significant changes in the demand for wheat as people change their diet accordingly. Linked to such economic factors are political ones, with instability or conflict leading to either lower supply or lower demand.
Unsurprisingly, weather plays a significant part in affecting the supply of wheat. Particularly bad weather is likely to reduce supply, all other things being equal, and drive up the price.
Another factor is energy costs. Huge amounts of energy go into producing crops each year. If the price of energy increases, this makes the cost of wheat production and transportation dearer, which may increase the commodity’s value.
As wheat trading instruments are priced in US dollars, the value of the US dollar can greatly impact the level of demand and therefore the price. Consider that the value of the US dollar falls, foreign consumers can then purchase the same amount of wheat for less. In other words, wheat has become cheaper. This may increase demand, which will increase the wheat price.
Something we have not yet mentioned is government intervention. History tells us that governments can intervene in the wheat market, for example, restricting exports to protect national supplies. Restricting supply in this way can drive up the international price of wheat.
The Wheat Trading Price Today
How To Trade Wheat
Shares In Agribusinesses
Investing in shares of agribusinesses or another company that is linked to wheat trading or production is a way to gain indirect exposure to the commodity. It suits traders that may not want to be exposed to high volatility by trading wheat directly through short-term instruments.
A CFD, or a contract for difference, is a financial instrument that can be used to speculate on the price of wheat without owning the underlying commodity. As many traders and speculators are not interested in taking delivery of the commodity and are instead focused on profiting from changes in its price, CFDs are a useful tool. The CFD dictates that the difference in the value of the commodity between the time the contract was opened and the current value of the commodity be exchanged between the buyer and seller.
The advantages of CFDs are that, as one is not purchasing the commodity outright, they have access to the market at a potentially lower cost.
ETFs are exchange-traded funds. They can track a particular commodity or asset and can be bought and sold freely on exchanges, unlike mutual funds. The Teucrium Wheat ETF is a popular fund that gives traders exposure to wheat futures. The disadvantage of these is that they often incur management fees.
A futures contract, regularly referred to as just “futures” and a common type of derivative used for commodities, is an agreement between a buyer and seller to purchase/supply a particular asset at a predetermined price at a future date. Like with CFDs, they are used to speculate on which way the wheat trading price will move. Upon the expiry of futures, the buyer may take delivery of the commodity.
Options are similar to futures contracts, though the buyer has the right but not the obligation to settle the contract. Let us say the price of wheat moved in the opposite direction from the one expected. The buyer could choose to not settle and they would only lose the cost of the options contract (the premium). Options are a common derivative used in wheat trading.
There are two main types of wheat trading options: calls and puts. Call options would be purchased by traders that anticipate the price of wheat increasing, whereas put options would be purchased by those that think the price of wheat will fall.
Spot trading involves purchasing wheat at the current market rate. This may be more suitable for short term traders and day traders who are looking to capitalise on a particular market event but traders that do not want ownership of the underlying commodity should look to other instruments.
Pros Of Trading Wheat
- Wide range of financial instruments and products
- Volatility creates opportunities for traders to profit
- Generally considered a safe investment as people need to eat whatever their income
Cons Of Trading Wheat
- Many factors that impact the price of wheat, such as extreme weather events, are difficult to predict
- Not the most widely-available commodity
Wheat Trading Strategies
There are myriad wheat trading strategies out there, so we have outlined two common ones below. There are also more complex approaches, such as a wheat corn spread trading strategy, which requires a deep understanding of the link between wheat and corn. However, this is not suitable for less-experienced traders.
The key to a successful range trading strategy is being able to identify the support and resistance levels for wheat. The price of commodities will often fluctuate between a lower band (support level) and an upper band (resistance level). If the value of an asset is close to or at the support level, this may indicate that the asset is in oversold territory and a rebound may occur, where the price increases. Therefore, being able to understand the ‘range’ can be useful in identifying entry and exit points in the market that could lead to profitable trades.
Let us say the support level for wheat per bushel is currently estimated to be around $6.50 and the resistance level $8.50. If the price were to drop from $7.50 down to $6.50, this may indicate that wheat is in oversold territory and is set for a rebound.
However, traders may encounter some difficulties. The price of a commodity may remain in overbought or oversold territory for some time. The other risk is that the price may break through a support or resistance level (which will certainly need to happen if the commodity is following a positive or negative trend).
Range trading is an example of using technical analysis to identify suitable entry and exit points in the market. However, another option for traders is to use fundamental analysis to predict which way the price of an asset will move. Traders adopting a fundamental analysis strategy will look at factors (e.g supply and demand) that influence the true value of wheat. An example would be rising energy costs, which makes wheat production more expensive and leads to reduced supply and an increase in the price of wheat.
Fundamental analysis requires a greater investment of time when wheat trading as you will need to be constantly aware of developments in the news and market updates, such as economic growth and changes in the value of the US dollar. If investing in stocks, looking at the fundamentals would also involve evaluating the true value of the company by assessing its financial state.
How To Start Wheat Trading
Find A Broker
When looking for a suitable broker, traders need to take multiple factors into account. The first thing to look at is fees. What are the broker’s wheat spreads? What are its commission rates? Are there other charges like deposit and withdrawal fees?
Also, ensure that your chosen broker offers the derivatives and assets that you want to gain exposure to. Some online brokers that provide access to the wheat trading market may offer CFDs, for example, but not the ability to trade futures and options directly, which is the case for CMC Markets.
Another factor to take into consideration is the quality and quantity of resources available from the broker. Look for features such as an economic calendar (which displays key market events), educational material (particularly useful for novice traders) and the quality of customer support. A full guide to breaking down a broker’s services can be found here.
Take A Position
Finding the optimal entry position into the market is arguably the most challenging part. Make use of indicators, any drawing tools and data (e.g all-time highs and lows), as well as any chart that shows the wheat trading price over time, to better understand where the support and resistance levels are. Also, try to identify whether there is a broader positive or negative trend.
Traders do not have to always use the naked eye to monitor their positions. Make use of advanced order types if your broker offers them. These may include stop-loss sell orders and trailing stop orders. A stop-loss sell order will automatically close your position if the price drops below a certain value. This is a very useful tool if the market is open for a large chunk of the day and you simply do not have the time to continuously monitor it.
If your strategy involves fundamental analysis, you will need to closely follow market events. News like political instability in a wheat-producing country or a sharp drop in the value of the US dollar may cause the price of wheat to suddenly change, so traders need to be fully aware of developments to respond quickly.
Traders may decide to close their long position if the price of wheat has moved into overbought territory and close to its resistance level. As said previously, this may be done automatically using advanced order types if certain conditions have been fulfilled.
Another reason a trader may choose to close their position is if they can predict certain market news. For example, the US Federal Reserve is meeting to decide on whether to change interest rates. If a trader thought they were going to increase interest rates, this would potentially increase the value of the US dollar, which may reduce demand for wheat.
Wheat Trading Tips
Look At The Big & Small Picture
Traders that undertake technical analysis can sometimes end up attempting to analyse the short term fluctuations without taking note of the broader picture. Understanding short term fluctuations is important for a range trading strategy, though be sure to look at the longer-term price movement as a strong positive trend, for example, will mean the price of wheat will have to exceed its resistance levels and climb higher. This is what we have seen with the price of wheat since 2016, which has generally followed a positive trend.
Choose The Right Derivative Or Security
Make sure to choose the derivative or security that is most suited to your needs. Leveraged instruments are generally more suitable for traders that have some experience and want a strategy with higher risk. For those looking for indirect exposure to the wheat market, investing in the shares of a business that produces or trades wheat may be a good option.
Wheat Trading Market Hours
Trading hours for wheat futures and options on the CBOT are 19:00 – 07:45 and 08:30 – 13:20 CT on Sundays and weekdays. However, hours will vary depending on which exchange wheat is being traded on. For example, MATIF SA, which is a French futures exchange on which milling wheat is traded, will have very different trading hours.
Make sure to check trading times on the broker’s website. For example, the UK broker, Capital.com, allows the trade of wheat CFDs between Monday and Friday, 08:25 – 16:28 UTC.
Final Word On Wheat Trading
The volatility of wheat means trading this commodity brings a good level of opportunity, plus a good level of risk. The range of instruments available can help mitigate this and provide options for intraday, swing and position traders, as well as long-term investors. Our step-by-step guide above aims to help any newcomers get started with wheat trading and we have even compiled a list of the best brokers here.
What Is A Wheat Trading CFD?
CFD stands for contract for difference, a financial derivative with which the buyer does not take ownership of the underlying asset. Instead, the contract stipulates that the difference between the value of wheat at the entry time and its value at close will be exchanged between the seller and buyer.
What Is A Wheat Trading ETF?
An ETF is an exchange-traded fund, which can track the price of a range of different assets, indices and commodities, including wheat. These can be freely bought and sold on securities exchanges and provide an accessible way to invest in wheat for the long term.
When Can I Trade Wheat?
Wheat trading times vary depending on which exchange is being used. Opening hours for futures and options on the CBOT are 19:00 – 07:45 and 08:30 – 13:20 CST on Sundays and weekdays.
Why Is Wheat An Important Commodity?
Wheat is a commodity used to produce lots of foodstuffs, such as cereal, bread and flower, which are a crucial part of people’s diets all across the world. It can also be used to produce other items, such as paper.
What Is The Difference Between Fundamental & Technical Analysis In Wheat Trading?
Fundamental analysis looks to assess the true value of a security or commodity and, therefore, its future price movement by analysing macroeconomic factors like economic growth and the value of the currency. Technical analysis looks at historical data and trends to predict future price movement through statistics and patterns.