Overnight Markets Extend Rally

The overnight eCBOT market has extended the recent rally in the grains pit with the complex higher across the board Monday morning.

Corn is up for the fifth straight session, marking its highest levels in eight weeks, and now sits comfortably above $4/bushel.

Israeli air strikes in the Gaza strip increased Middle East tensions over the weekend, sending crude oil higher.

Weakness in the dollar against the euro is also adding support to the grains complex.

A dry Christmas period in South America is also seen as bullish for corn and soybeans, as is continued domestic stock-piling by China.

At 8.30am GMT corn and wheat were around 7-8c firmer, with soybeans around 22-23c higher.

This gives beans a combined gain of around 74-75 cents over Christmas Eve/Boxing Day and this morning. Corn has added around 25 cents and wheat around 32 cents in the same period.

Crude oil is almost $2, or 5%, firmer this morning at $39.56/barrel.

The dollar is broadly weaker, although not significantly so against the pound which is also on it's arse, as crude rises in response to the Israeli's Christmas present for the Gaza Strip.

At 8.45am GMT the dollar was 1.4237 against the euro, from 1.4028 late in New York on Boxing Day. Against a similarly blighted pound the dollar was $1.4690. The greenback also slid on speculation that US housing and manufacturing reports due this week will show the economy is continuing to deteriorate.

The pound is down again against the euro, falling to 1.0297, guess what folks, that's another all-time low and one step closer to parity. One euro is now worth more than 97 pence.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says that that while total UK unemployment will not hit three million next year, the time between New Year and Easter will be the worst for job losses since 1991.

The news comes as a host of major High Street names have, or are about to, close their doors. It seems that this could just be the tip of the iceberg, with many store having slashed goods by up to 70% before Christmas, where is the money going to come from to pay the bills during the lean Jan/Mar period?

With children's clothing chain Adams said to be on the brink of administration, following the collapse of Woolies, Zavvi, Whittard. Officers Club, MFI et al who is next?

According to the Times at the weekend Focus DIY, Jessops, Clinton Cards and Land of Leather are amongst the favourites.

An Icelandic government fire sale may see the likes of House of Fraser, Hamleys and Karen Millen sold of on the cheap, reports suggest.

The High Street could look very different this time next year.