Early Call On Chicago

22/03/11 -- The overnight grains were lower with beans ending around 16-20c easier, with corn down 8-10c and wheat 13-15c lower. Crude oil is a bit easier despite early reports of a US warplane "being shot down" over Libya. It seems that mechanical error was the real culprit. Those Libyans couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo.

The market seems somewhat deflated that it got itself all worked up again that China had swooped in for "massive" volumes of US corn on last week's dip, only to find little in the way of confirmation from the USDA. Two 116,000 MT sales to unknown is all we have to go on between last Thursday and now.

Indeed China’s state grain buyer Sinograin says it hasn't bought anything at all. In addition to that the government there only sold 10% of the corn on offer at this week's auction.

China will import 3.9 MMT of soybeans in March and 3.4 MMT in April, according to the Ag Ministry. That's a step up from last month, but below the customary 5 MMT+ that we've been getting used to, and much of that will be South American origin.

Celeres report Brazil's soybean harvest at 44% complete, up from 30% last week and slightly ahead of the five year average although below last year's pace.

"Kansas wheat improved in the week ending March 21 but conditions were still not favourable with 37% poor-very poor, 36% fair and 27% good-excellent. Five percent of wheat was jointing, a rapid growth period in wheat that demands generous moisture. The updated forecast calls for 0.25 - 0.50 inch of rainfall later in the week with much cooler temperatures. Both coolness and wetness would help wheat development," say Martell Crop Projections.

The USDA do today report 160,000 MT of HRW wheat sold to Nigeria, but there's no crumbs for the corn bulls.

Goldman Sachs is forecasting 2011 US corn plantings at 92.1 million acres, slightly more than the USDA's Feb Outlook Forum, they are out with more official estimates at the end of the month.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans down 15-20c, wheat down 12-15c, corn down 8-10c.