Early Call On Chicago

04/04/11 -- The overnight grains were firmer, with corn hitting a more than two year high on continued concerns about extremely tight old crop supplies. Corn was up around 12c on old crop and 5c on new crop. Wheat was around 12-13c higher and soybeans up 4-5c.

Outside markets are firmer, with Brent crude nearing USD120/barrel and gold, copper and silver also higher.

It was another dry weekend in the southern Plains combined with high winds that will have potentially caused more damage to ailing winter wheat. The USDA will report on crop conditions after the close tonight in what probably won't make pretty reading. That may support wheat tonight and again in the morning once the figures are known. Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas wheat are all looking in a pretty sorry state.

Meanwhile in the northern Plains cold and wet conditions aren't doing spring wheat plantings any favours either.

Russian spring grain plantings are making slow progress, at only around half of last year's pace due to the late arrival of spring.

Some welcome rain has arrived over the weekend for western Europe which will push eastwards as the week wears on.

Sowing of Australian winter grains will get started at the end of the month and last through until June under what looks like almost ideal conditions. Winter wheat plantings are expected to be up almost half a million hectares on last year.

The USDA are out on Friday with their world supply and demand numbers so we may end up treading a bit of water again this week until those are out.

Before that we get the latest weekly export numbers on Thursday. Any appearance by a certain Far Eastern buyer amongst the corn sales would get the market all excited. Soybean sales may be a bit flat again, offering further evidence that Chinese demand has switched to South America.

Beans look set to be the follower today also on reports that China is cancelling and/or deferring existing purchases of US beans.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session sees wheat up 12-14c, corn up 10-15c and soybeans 3-5c higher.