Early Call On Chicago

02/12/10 -- The overnight grains were mixed, with wheat ending 8-9c higher, beans 7-8c lower and corn down 3-4c.

Wheat was up on the back of Australian weather woes, and large-scale crop downgrades. Heavy rain, flash flooding and hail hit Victoria this morning, with some places recording 12mm of rain in just ten minutes. More is forecast for tomorrow, with only a brief respite over the weekend before heavy rain and storms will again cross the state mid-next week.

In South America, Argentine soybean plantings are well behind normal. November soybean rainfall was only 39% of normal in the key soy provinces, allowing little more than 50% of the crop to get planted and hampering germination.

What rain has fallen has tended to be only in the form of light showers, certainly not the widespread soaking that growers there are hoping for. There are no such drenching rains in the forecast either, and temperatures are into the 90's next week.

The USDA today reported wheat export sales of 663,300 MT for the 2010/11 marketing year, plus 40,900 MT for delivery in 2011/12. That is in line with expectations for sales of 500-700,000 MT.

Soybean sales came in at 1.4 MMT, above trade expectations for sales of 1-1.3 MMT. Corn sales were in line with trade estimates at 758,100 MT.

In addition to those sales the USDA today announced 135,000 MT of corn sold to Japan and 238,000 MT to "unknown".

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: wheat up 7-9c; corn down 3-4c; beans down 6-8c.