CBOT Early Call

The overnight grains closed lower with March soybeans ending 1 1/2 cents down at $9.39 a bushel, March corn was down 4 cents to $3.60 1/2 per bushel and May wheat fell 4 3/4 cents to $4.90 1/4.

The dollar is firmer yet again, and crude oil sharply lower. The American Petroleum Institute are out later today with their stocks estimate for crude, and are expected to show inventories rising for the sixth successive week.

Conab upped their Brazilian soybean crop estimate from 66.73 MMT to 67.57 MMT. The census bureau, the IBGE, now say 66.9 MMT. Harvesting there is around a third complete, with the top producing state of Mato Grosso now past halfway done, according to Celeres.

There are still huge logistical problems getting this record crop to the ports and freight terminals however. This will likely keep front-end positions at a premium throughout the summer I feel.

The freight market is also firming up. Unfortunately for the Brazilian grower these charges, and higher trucking costs caused by a shortage of lorries, are both being passed back onto him. That may colour his judgement when planting, spraying and fertilising next seasons crop comes around.

Regardless of that, for now we have a record crop on our hands both there and in Argentina.

China imported less soybeans in February, 3.03 MMT, than was originally thought according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Japan are tendering for 152,000 MT of wheat again this week, of that 85,000 MT will be US origin.

With the firmer dollar and weaker crude oil, plus pre-report positioning it would seem that a weaker close is on the cards tonight. Short-covering and profit-taking could however also feature, particularly for corn and wheat.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 2 to 4 lower; soybeans called 6 to 8 lower; wheat called 4 to 6 lower.