CBOT Early Call

The overnight grains closed lower with beans around 7-8c easier and wheat & corn 2-3c down.

Dollar strength is once again in evidence, with the greenback gaining against both the pound and euro again today.

The euro is under pressure after Portugal had it's credit rating downgraded, whilst the pound declined after Alistair Darling's budget speech appeared to be more of a political one than an economic one. No surprises there then.

Crude oil is weaker after the American Petroleum Institute surprisingly raised their stocks estimate by a hefty 7.5 million barrels yesterday, far more than had been expected.

The US weather outlook seems to be improving rapidly, which will help corn plantings in the south and dry things up somewhat further north.

Next week's planting intentions and quarterly stocks report is eagerly awaited.

Shipping delays from South America may continue to push a few spot enquires the way of the US. Argy dockworkers are reportedly striking at two terminals in the port of San Martin, one each apparently owned by Cargill and Bunge.

The ongoing drought in SW China is a threat to wheat, corn and rapeseed production there.

China yesterday raised their anticipated import requirement for soybeans for March to more than 4.5 MMT, that's 700,000 MT more than they imported in the same period 2009.

The US will be conscious that they are losing out on wheat export orders left, right and centre to the kind of destinations that would be normally expected to be a stronghold.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn called 1 to 3 lower; soybeans called 6 to 8 lower; wheat called 2 to 5 lower.