eCBOT Close, Early Call

eCBOT grains closed slightly firmer in Tuesday's overnight session, with May wheat up 4 1/4 cents, May corn up 1 3/4 cents and may soybeans 3 1/2 cents higher.

Last night's planting progress report showed corn planting lagging behind schedule at 5% done, compared with the five year average of 14%. That shouldn't really be too significant as the weather is finally forecast to warm up, and some marked progress is likely to be made over the next couple of weeks.

Spring wheat plantings are also well behind at 6% done, compared with 21% normally, with nothing at all planted in North Dakota yet. That is a pretty significant number when you consider that that particular state normally accounts for half of all US spring wheat production. Ideally, the state would expect plantings to be half done by May 1st.

Winter wheat production in the US meanwhile is likely to be exceptionally variable this season. Crops in the top producing state of Kansas appear to have escaped significant freeze damage a fortnight ago by virtue of their late development.

In Oklahoma and Texas however it's a different story, where 60% and 74% respectively of winter wheat is now rated poor or very poor.

Japan is tendering for 148,000 MT of wheat this week, of which 86,000 MT is US origin. Syria is planning to buy 200,000 MT of soft wheat this week, and South Korea bought 110,000 MT of corn overnight.

For soybeans the Chinese rumours won't go away, China may have bought up to a million tonnes of US/Brazilian beans in the past week despite US prices hitting six month highs, according to trade gossip.

Crude oil is stable for now at $45.90/barrel, having dropped by almost 9% yesterday. The May contract expires today. Doubts that the worst is over for the US economy emerged, despite Bank of America reporting better than expected profits yesterday, after US economic indicators came in lower than expected.

Crude oil inventories data due tomorrow is expected to shows stockpiles rising a further 2.4 million barrels last week.

Early indications for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn, beans and wheat all called 1-3 cents higher.