Early Call On Chicago

23/11/10 -- The overnight grains closed mostly lower with wheat and beans down 2-3c and corn 3-4c easier.

The trade seems to be treading water looking for some fresh impetus from here. Up seems to be the path of least resistance, we're just waiting for the fireworks to start.

The US dollar is firmer on a flight to safety as tensions escalate over the North and South Korea situation. Add to that lingering concerns over Ireland, Spain and Portugal too and that may provide a little downwards impetus this afternoon however, whilst the rest of us look for the matches.

There does however seem to be a significant upside potential developing, even from these relatively lofty levels.

The USDA upped wheat good/excellent conditions one point to an uninspiring 47% last night. Winter wheat in the top US producing state of Kansas is now a worrisome 26% poor/very poor.

Argentina remains dry with the possibility of reduced crop production estimates on the way from that quarter in the not too distant future.

Weather conditions in Russia are far from ideal, and are already seen almost inevitably having a negative impact on next season's crop. Don't go expecting them to be a force to be reckoned with in the export market until 2012.

China keeps auctioning off the crown jewels adding rapeseed oil to it's regular grain sales this week, but sooner or later that particular well must run dry.

Meanwhile Europe is now busy exporting what crown jewels that it has already sold off to less fortunate nations, whilst simultaneously smelting the remainder down to power the street lights.

In short, the world is not very well placed at all for another major crop problem anywhere during 2011.

Oh, have I mentioned La Nina yet?

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: Corn down 2-4 cents, soybeans and wheat down 2-3c.