eCBOT Close, Early Call

The overnight grains closed narrowly mixed with corn around 3 cents higher, beans 1-2 cents lower and wheat flat to one down.

Crude oil is a little firmer but off earlier highs at USD72.90/barrel. The American Petroleum Institute yesterday shocked the market my announcing an inventory fall of 5.8 million barrels last week, when the market had expected an increase of around half a million. The US Energy Dept will release their stocks numbers later today, something of the same magnitude increase as the API would boost crude and might help grains this afternoon.

The world has got the jitters after Greece and now Spain had their credit ratings/outlook downgraded this week, following on from the Dubai problems recently. Moody's have indicated that both the UK and US might get a similarly embarrassing downgrading of their AAA status if they don't get their fingers out.

All that makes for a volatile forex market with the dollar, sterling and euro vying for the star prize in "Who Want's To Be a Pauper".

On the weather front, the intense early winter storm, now over Lake Michigan, has left enough snow across the Corn Belt to push harvest 2009 well into 2010, say QT Weather.

Damage will be widespread from this weather event, with only one of the concerns being the deep snowpack and drifts that linger over the yet to be harvested cornfield, they add.

Delivery intentions for wheat are 1,134 contracts, and 832 contracts for corn.

Reports continuing to come out of Australia suggest that a combination of frost, heavy rains, high winds and a prolonged period of 30+ C days have all taken their toll on wheat.

Tomorrow we have the USDA's supply & demand report and their weekly export sales to look forward to.

In the US soybean 2009/10 ending stocks are seen falling to 235 million bushels, down from 270 million in the last report. Corn ending stocks are seen at 1.646 billion bushels, up from 1.625 billion bushels in November. Wheat ending stocks are expected to show a small increase from 885 million bushels in November to 886.

The weekly export sales will be interesting too, particularly to see the size of China's purchases of soybeans this past week.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 2 to 3 higher; soybeans called 1 to 3 lower; wheat called mixed.