Early Call On Chicago

24/03/11 -- I'll probably think of a Brazilian connection as I type. The overnight grains closed narrowly mixed. What's going on? We've become used to massive swings and now it's just like the old days again. Beans finished mostly 2-3c higher, with corn up a cent or three and wheat 2c up to 2c down.

The USDA weekly export sales report was in line with expectations for beans, corn and wheat, but frustratingly for the bulls there were no corn sales to China. Bean sales to China were also the lowest weekly total that I can recall for some considerable time at 20,800 MT. Demand has clearly already switched to South America.

China did show up though as a surprise buyer of two cargoes of US wheat.

On the weather front "much colder temperatures are predicted in the US grain belt the next several days, at least 15 F below normal for this time of year. Sunday should be very cold in the heartland - 20 degrees F below normal in Missouri and Kansas. Dreary damp conditions will dominate the Upper Midwest while rain and snow develops along an unstable front in the more southern growing areas," say Martell Crop Projections.

Elsewhere we have more unwanted rain in Mato Grosso (there you go, I told you I'd justify another Brazilian bum picture) and not enough in Parana. The South Brazil forecast is turning hopeful for heavy rain, which would be beneficial.

As you can see news is limited as we await fresh impetus from next week's USDA reports.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn up 1-3c, beans up 2-4c, wheat flat to 2c higher.