eCBOT Close, Early Call, Export Sales

The overnight grains closed lower, pulling back from some of last night's gains, as crude oil retreated. Beans ended down around 6-7 cents and wheat & corn both down around 5 cents.

Futures had been supported earlier after China announced a $26 billion stimulus package and said it expected to achieve 8% growth in 2009.

There are still concerns for US wheat in the Plains, with various weather forecasters differing over how much rain relief may be in sight for crops there.

Japan bought 118,000mt wheat overnight - 55,000mt of it from the US. Syria is tendering for 200,000mt any origin wheat. They bought Russian last time and are likely to do the same again now.

Australia is struggling to get it's act together on the export front, with severe congestion reported in Western Australia state, and importing nations like South Korea and the Philippines threatening to take their business elsewhere.

The Rosario Exchange has estimated the Argy soy crop at 41.7mmt (compared to the USDA's 43.8mmt), saying that too much irreversible damage was done before February rains arrived.

If that is true for beans then it must apply even more for earlier planted corn, that crop is seen down 36% on last year to 14mmt, they say, although that is half a million more than the USDA's last estimate.

In the USDA's Weekly Export Sales Report here's what we got for w/e Feb 26:

Wheat 285,200 MT (expected 350-450,000 MT)
Corn 791,900 MT (450-750,000 MT)
Beans 155,800 MT (400-700 MT)

It is pleasing to see corn sales return a strong number after a disappointing week last week, bean sales were very poor however, a marketing-year low in fact.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn futures are expected to open 2 to 4 lower; soybeans 8 to 10 lower; wheat 4 to 6 lower