eCBOT Close, Early Call

The overnight grains closed sharply higher with beans up around 13-14 cents, wheat 14-15 cents higher and corn up in the region of 8-9 cents.

Crude oil is above USD80/barrel and the dollar is starting 2010 where it left off in 2009 - in weak mode.

The US is experiencing a sharp cold snap with temperatures last week at 8-15 F below average in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado, says Gail Martell of Martell Crop Projections. These are the leading beef cattle states where ranches and feed lots are most heavily concentrated, leading to a pick-up in feed consumption, says Gail.

Elsewhere snow has expanded and deepened in North-Central United States during the past 3 weeks, making corn harvesting difficult if not impossible, adds Gail. Perhaps 500 million bushels of corn is stuck in the field, concentrated heavily in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, she adds.

Heavy snow across large swathes of Europe and Asia might also provide futures with a little boost.

The funds will be in to buy commodities early in January is a theory that has been widely touted for some time now. The commodities that will be most in demand are those that have fared less well in 2009, or so the theory goes.

Step forward wheat. Front month CBOT wheat was down 11% during 2009 and the Dec10 future was almost 15% lower. It seems a tad bizarre to me that the funds should think to themselves "I'd like to put my money on that lame horse that trails the field by 15 lengths please" but there you go.

Some reports suggest that a combined 50-100,000 of soybeans, wheat and corn contracts could attract fund buying interest in the next week or two.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 7 to 9 higher; soybeans called 12 to 15 higher; wheat called 12 to 15 higher.