CBOT Early Call, USDA Export Sales

The overnight grains closed lower, reversing most of last night's gains - I thought Tuesday was supposed to be turnaround day not Thursday? Beans closed around 10c easier, with wheat down around 7c and corn 5c or so weaker.

The dollar is up and crude oil is down. Concern over the demise of the euro following reports that Greece might be about to go to the IMF for financial assistance, might harm US export hopes.

The USDA report weekly export sales for corn of 747,600 MT for delivery in 2009/10, higher than expectations of sales of 400-600,000 MT.

Soybean sales came in at 214,100 MT for delivery in 2009/10 and 525,000 MT for delivery in 2010/11, against expectations for combined sales of 150-250,000 MT. China booked 390,000 MT of the new crop sales.

Wheat sales were 325,300 MT for old crop and 114,000 MT for new crop, towards the top end of expectations of 300-425,000 MT.

Actual shipments were 955,300 MT for corn, 913,500 MT for beans and 257,400 MT for wheat.

Sandbags are selling well in the Upper Midwest, with more rain and snowmelt on the way.

The trade is now starting to focus intently on what the USDA will say for planting intentions on March 31st. Recent gossip suggests that spring wheat area may also be reduced, as well as winter wheat plantings. The idea that that might be on the cards should be enough to encourage some more short-covering between now and then.

The jury is still out on corn plantings too, with most pundits predicting a rise of 3-4 million acres if Mother Nature plays ball. Whether or not all those extra acres get in will obviously also have a direct influence on the final soybean area too.

As well as rain in the Upper Midwest, snow is also potentially back on the cards for the top producing winter wheat state of Kansas. Temperatures are forecast to dip well below normal in the southern wheat states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas over the coming week.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 4 to 6 lower; soybeans called 8 to 12 lower; wheat called 6 to 8 lower.