eCBOT Close, Early Call

eCBOT grains closed lower overnight with beans down around 1-2 cents, corn flat to 2 cents easier and wheat down around 4-5 cents.

There's a distinct lack of fresh news today, with Monday's Memorial Day holiday putting back the USDA's Weekly Export Sales report until tomorrow.

Crude oil is steady around $63.50/barrel on comments from the Saudi Oil Minister that the global economy could now support crude at $75-80/barrel. Well, what else would you expect him to say? OPEC are to leave output unchanged, as expected.

US Energy Dept data is also a day late, making it due later this afternoon, and is expected to show crude inventories fell by 700,000 barrels last week.

Weather condition in parts of the Midwest are far from ideal. Soil moisture remains at “once in 50 year” levels for this date in North Dakota, Illinois, Michigan and parts of Indiana, says Allen Motew of QTWeather. The areas particularly on the radar screen are NE North Dakota, NW Minnesota for continued spring wheat planting delays (frost Sunday/Monday too) and NE Illinois, Central and South Illinois and Central and South Indiana for additional rain and planting delays, he says.

Very little, if any, spring wheat will get planted after this weekend. Illinois and Indiana growers will be weighing up their options with regards to switching from corn to beans, unless they have already applied nitrogen.

Some decent rain has finally fallen in Buenos Aires province this past week which may encourage Argentine farmers plant a bit more wheat. Elsewhere in the wheat belt it remains dry.

Japan bought 71,000 MT wheat in a routine tender, most of it US origin.

The dollar is off yesterday's lows, which accounted for some modest weakness this morning.

In Europe the FTSE, DAX and CAC are all around 1% lower, Wall Street is expected to follow suit, especially given the spectre of GM potentially about to file the largest bankruptcy ever.

In the US initial jobless claims came in less than expected - 623,000 as opposed to 635,000. Still, the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose to 6.78 million - the largest total on records dating back to 1967 and the 17th straight record week.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn 1 to 2 lower, Soybeans 2 to 3 lower, Wheat 3 to 6 lower.