eCBOT Close, Early Call

eCBOT grains closed with corn flat and wheat and soybeans firmer. March corn closed down 1/4 cents, March soybeans ended up 8 3/4 cents and March wheat up 9 3/4 cents.

Largely hot & dry weather seems to be returning to Argentina which will stress crops further there.

Despite some decent rains last week, undoubtedly damage has already been done, particularly to corn.

All eyes will be on the USDA tomorrow when it releases revised crop production estimates and stocks data, with soy and corn output likely to be reduced in Brazil as well as Argentina.

US ending stocks for soybeans are expected lower, corn higher and wheat around unchanged from last month.

Tunisia has bought 50,000mt wheat from Bunge in a tender at $203.87 C&F. Pakistan passed on a tender for 250,000mt white US wheat as it only attracted one bid for just 50,000mt. A revised tender may be issued tomorrow.

Conflicting stories abound as to the extent of damage to winter wheat crops in China. Exactly what the true magnitude of drought losses are to the world's largest wheat crop remains unclear.

The USDA has today reported the sale of 100,000mt US corn to South Korea and 120,000mt soybeans to China. South Korea have bought a lot of kit in the last few weeks, over one million tonnes worth, and it is also nice to see China back again after a lethargic first week back after their New Year celebrations.

Letters of credit seem to be finally lubricating the wheels of industry again if the freight market is anything to go by, with the Baltic Dry Index up by more than half in the past week alone.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn flat, wheat up 6-8 cents, soy up 7-9 cents.