Early Call On Chicago

23/03/11 -- The overnight grains closed mostly a little higher with beans up 1-2c, corn 1-3c firmer and wheat flat to up 2c.

Crude is around half a dollar firmer and the USD is also a bit steadier.

Fresh news is severely lacking. The USDA report 105,000 MT of soybeans sold to "unknown" for 2011/12. There's been no confirmation of any corn sales to China though. Again.

Cofco have joined Sinograin in saying that they haven't bought any US corn, and nor do they intend to, at these levels.

It looks like we might be treading water ahead of the USDA acreage report at the end of the month.

Brazil's soybean crop may be shrinking a little, although it will still probably be a record ahead of last season's 68.5 MMT.

A hard freeze and snow is in the forecast for US winter wheat in Kansas, Oklahoma and NW Texas early next week, according to QT Weather. The freeze could be bad for Oklahoma wheat which is around 50% jointed, but the moisture could benefit Kansas wheat which is less advanced, they add.

The FAO peg the world wheat crop this year at 676 MMT, a 4.4% or 28.5 MMT increase on the USDA's estimate for 2010/11. That figure also exceeds this season's consumption figure from the USDA by 14 MMT.

China sold just over half the 679 TMT of wheat on offer at today's weekly auction.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn 1-2c firmer, beans up 2-3c, wheat flat to up 2c.