CBOT Opening

Early CBOT calls were modestly higher with corn called up 2 to 4 cents, soybeans called 3 to 6 higher, and wheat called 1 to 2 higher.

As it happened the grains are mixed in early trade, with beans and wheat around 5-6 cents lower, and corn posting modest gains of a cent or so.

With over 10% of the corn crop still in the field, and a foot of snow on the way for large parts of the Midwest, it's not hard to see why corn is the strongest leg this afternoon.

Brazil's IBGE pegs the 2009-10 soybean crop at 64.9 MMT, Conab say 64.5 MMT. both estimates are well above last season's output of 57.1 MMT. The crop is 85% planted say Celeres.

Brazil's 2009/10 wheat crop will be 5.0 MMT say Conab, that's 14% down on last season.

ABARE lowered it's estimate for the Australian wheat crop by 700,000 MT to 22.0 MMT.

Japan is looking for 131,000 MT of wheat in a tender Thursday, most of which will be US origin.

In Thursday's supply and demand report the USDA is expected to raise 09/10 corn ending stocks from 1.625 billion bushels in November to 1.646. Soybean ending stocks are expected to decrease from 270 million bushels in November to 235. Wheat ending stocks are expected to show a modest increase from 885 million bushels in November to 886.

The reality of the situation is probably that soybean ending stocks will be lower than expected, and wheat stocks higher. But will the super cautious USDA figures report that?

They've been picking up Chinese soybean orders for fun of late, and exports combined with sales are running at 27.81 MMT, as of last week. That's 77% of the USDA's target for the whole of 2009/10, and we are only 13 weeks (a quarter of the year) into it. And China have booked another five cargoes of beans that we know of since then!

Wheat sales have not proved so promising, the recent hike in freight rates might have something to do with that. In last week's wheat tender offers of US grain to Egypt were well above Black Sea and European levels.