eCBOT Close, Early Call

The overnight grains closed lower with beans down around 6-7 cents, corn off 5-6 cents and wheat down around 12 cents.

The dollar is suddenly sharply firmer whilst gold, copper, crude, equities and all the other outside markets are off their highs on what looks more like profit-taking than a fundamental change in direction.

Weekly export sales were bullish soybeans, neutral wheat and bearish corn. Bean sales came in at 1,349,700 MT against expectations of 750,000 and 950,000 MT. Exports of 1,724,200 MT were a marketing-year high, the primary destination (no surprises here) was China (914,500 MT).

Wheat sales were so-so at 362,400 MT, whilst corn sales were poor at 352,900 MT compared to trade estimates of 450,000 to 550,000 MT.

Private exporters have today just reported a sale to China of 116,000 MT of soybeans for the 2009/2010 marketing year.

China is seen increasing it's soybean imports over the next few months, which should certainly favour US beans for a month or two yet. Heavy snow is seen affecting logistics and transportation, which may also lead to an increased reliance on imported beans over home produced material.

Japan bought 113,000 MT wheat in it's normal weekly tender - 71,000 MT US origin and 42,000 MT Australian origin for dely Dec. 21 - Jan. 20.

Australian wheat might be suffering from soaring temperatures in the East, whilst heavy snowfalls in northern China's wheat belt might also hit yields for next year.

Egypt is tendering to wheat again this week, Russia would look the probable favourite again, although French wheat might get a look in on the quality angle.

Will the fund money continue to flow into the ags today/tomorrow? That would appear to be the six million dollar question.

Certainly there's more bullish news around for beans today with large weekly sales, record exports and another spot sale to China.

For now early calls for this afternoon's CBOT are: corn called 5 to 7 lower; soybeans called 4 to 6 lower; wheat called 10 to 12 lower