eCBOT Close, Early Call

The overnight grains closed a little firmer, but well off session highs, with beans around 4 cents higher and wheat & corn 2-3 cents higher.

A weaker dollar led to what turned out to be only a very modest correction from last night's steep losses.

Crude oil is up close to USD75/barrel after news emerged that Iranian forces had surrounded an Iraqi oil well.

China has bought 116,000 MT of US soybeans for the 2010/11 marketing year, the USDA have reported today.

China, under pressure from the green lobby, has lowered the import tariff on ethanol from 30% to 5%, which may stimulate some demand for the fuel from the Far East.

The IGC forecasts global wheat production for 2010/11 down by 23 MMT to 645 MMT, but there might be some more pain to get through first.

India's winter wheat plantings are at 23.1 million hectares, fractionally higher than a year ago, but still leaving around 5 million ha to sow to meet government targets.

More heavy rain is in the forecasts for southern Brazil and northern/eastern parts of Argentina. In Brazil certainly they will be wishing it might stop sometime soon. Asian rust will be hoping it doesn't.

Gold is down to a one month low on profit-taking and year-end book-squaring. The dollar is down, but off intra-day lows set earlier this morning.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 1 to 3 higher; soybeans called 3 to 5 higher; wheat called 1 to 2 higher.