eCBOT Close, Early Call

eCBOT grains closed higher across the board Monday, with beans up around 17-18c, wheat 11c higher and corn up 8-9c.

China has asked state reserves to buy as many as 3 million tons of soybeans from domestic farmers to boost prices and rural incomes. That’s made processing domestic soybeans unprofitable and forced buyers to turn to buying cheaper U.S. and South American beans.

Purchases may total 2.9 million metric tons, the Ministry of Commerce said in a twice-monthly forecast report dated Dec. 12. That compares with 1.4 million tons in December 2007, according to customs data.

Chinese buyers may have ordered as many as 23 cargoes, or about 1.4 million tons, of soybeans in the 10-day period ended Dec. 12 for delivery in January and February, according to sources.

Lower estimates of US plantings of wheat and corn for 2009, released by a private research firm on Friday, are also encouraging for prices. Informa Economics Friday dropped 2009 US wheat plantings by 2m acres on 2008, and corn by more than 3.6m acres.

The USDA chief economist recently pegged 2009 US corn plantings at 90m acres, the Informa number is over 7.5m acres lower than that estimate.

Informa said that virtually all of these lost acres will go into soybean production, raising 2009 planted area by 5.6m acres to 81.5m acres.

Meanwhile crude oil futures climbed over $48 a barrel as investors anticipated hefty output cuts by OPEC producer countries at a meeting later this week.

Commodities and equities also reacted to renewed hopes about a bailout of U.S. automakers, and expectations of an interest rate cut of 0.5% from the US Federal Reserve later this week.

The dollar hit a two-month low against the euro on the outlook for lower US interest rates, boosting hopes of increased export activity.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open 7 to 10 higher; soybeans 16 to 19 higher; wheat 9 to 12 higher.