eCBOT Close/Early Call

eCBOT grains closed mostly higher, but well off session highs set earlier in the morning after Hurricane Ike was downgraded from a Cat 3 to a Cat 2 Hurricane as it roared across Cuba.

Crude oil is around a dollar or so above Friday's five month low close of $106.23/barrel.

Wheat closed 1-3c higher on the overnight market, with corn around 3c firmer and soybeans 4-6c steadier.

A slightly weaker dollar also contributed to the firmer tone in overnight trade.

With the wheat harvest in Europe largely completed (with one or two notable exceptions!) attention is now focusing on southern hemisphere crops.

The jury is still out on the eventual size of the Australian crop with most estimates now ranging in the 20-24mmt area.

Private consultancy Australian Crop Forecasters will release its latest forecast of the Australian wheat crop on Wednesday. The estimate is likely to be revised modestly downwards from the firm's last forecast of 24.06 million tonnes, made in early August analysts say.

Some early harvesting has began in the north-eastern state of Queensland.

Argentina’s wheat crop is suffering through dry weather and in some places, cold weather damage.

Earliest calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open 1 to 3 higher; soybeans 3 to 7 higher; wheat 1 to 3 higher.