eCBOT Close, Early Call

The overnight grains closed sharply higher, reversing Friday's losses on a weaker dollar on talk that the US government may increase it's stake in Citigroup to 40 percent.

March soybeans closed the eCBOT session 18 1/2 cents higher, Mar wheat up 7 1/4 cents and Mar corn 9 1/4 cents firmer.

An improved weather outlook in South America over the weekend was largely ignored, with traders focusing their attention on the currency market.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Citi has proposed that the government convert a large portion of its preferred shares into common stock, thereby raising its interest in the firm without costing taxpayers any more money.

It seems that much of last weeks losses in the grain markets were due to outside influences and speculative money exiting. CFTC data shows that corn's long positions were almost completely eliminated in the week to Feb. 17, whilst soybean long positions fell 20 percent, while wheat short positions rose 16 percent.

As was largely expected Egypt bought 240,000mt of all-Russian wheat over the weekend.

Argentine farmers began what seems destined to be the first of many strikes late last week ahead of planned talks with the government tomorrow. I don't think anyone is really expecting much chance of a resolution at this early stage.

That may add a bit of a front-end premium to soya values over the next few months.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open 6 to 9 higher; soybeans 18 to 20 higher; wheat 5 to 7 higher.