While the standard 5000 bushel contracts of Corn, Wheat and Soybeans close at 1:15 PM central time, their 1000 bushel mini contracts trade for 30 more minutes until 1:45 PM central time. Many traders have asked me why this is the case over the years and it has to do with the origins of the mini contracts.
Corn, Soybeans and Wheat all traded on the CBOT before they were bought by the CME group. The mini grain contracts originated at the MidAmerica Commodity Exchange (aka the “MidAm”), and not the CBOT where they trade today. The MidAm was known as an exchange friendly to new traders. The MidAm filled a niche market for the small trader while the CME and CBOT were the more established exchanges of Chicago. The MidAm offered lower membership prices than the CME and CBOT, they were the only exchange in town with mini contracts and they found success in catering to new traders who did not want to dive into the deep end at the CME or CBOT. One of the most famous traders who started their trading career at the MidAm was Turtle Trading Richard Dennis. The MidAm was able to further distinguish itself from the other exchanges by offer grains trading in mini contracts for up to a half hour after the CBOT closed. This is a feature many of the mini grain traders still enjoy today.
In 1986, the CBOT acquired the MidAmerican Exchange. Even though the mini grain contracts would be eventually moved to the CBOT floor and CBOT electronic exchange by 2003, the Board did not change the hours for the mini grain contracts. The mini grains were still allowed to trade until 1:45 PM central time and the standard contracts closed at 1:15 PM. To this day the extended hours of the mini grain contracts, combined with the lower margin needed to trade grains, keeps mini corn, mini wheat and mini soybeans a popular, traded contract for many traders.
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