eCBOT Close, Early Call

The overnight grains closed narrowly mixed, with corn and wheat around a cent higher and beans around a cent higher to a cent lower. You can't get much narrower than that.

Crude is steady after the American Petroleum Institute said yesterday that US stocks fell by 2.3 million barrels last week, compared to an anticipated fall of 1.6 million. The US Energy Dept release their stocks data later today.

The cold spell gripping the US may certainly help boost demand, and it won't do any harm across much of the rest of the northern hemisphere either.

Wheat in Nebraska and Kansas may be damaged by “extreme cold” according to AccuWeather. Minus 20F is likely in parts of Nebraska and minus 10 is on the cards for the top US wheat producing state of Kansas. The cold front might also push into another important US wheat state of Oklahoma, taking temperatures down to minus 5, they say. Large parts of all three states apparently have little or no snow cover.

Up to 65 million bushels of corn in North Dakota is now going to have to sit there until the spring, some analysts are saying.

Most of the major news services still talk about fund "rebalancing" this week as if it's a given. What will the market do if it doesn't show up? And why on earth would they want to buy into some of the worst performing commodities of 2009 anyway?

If they are in the mood, I can root those glass hammers out of the shed if they fancy those, and I'm sure I've got a box of left-handed screwdrivers somewhere too.

US jobs data shows 84,000 private employment losses in December against 73,000 anticipated. The Fed releases the minutes from its December meeting later today.

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