Early Call On Chicago

20/12/11 -- The overnight Globex session saw grains extend recent gains with beans around 5 cents higher, corn up 2-3 cents and wheat adding 3-6 cents.

Crude oil is a couple of dollars higher and the US dollar a bit weaker, both adding a bit of support.

South American weather concerns are what has seen corn add 22 cents and beans 37 cents since the middle of last week.

Other than that and the poor state of Ukraine's winter wheat crop there isn't much other bullish news on the table.

A bit like the credit card bill, the market seems to be thinking that it will re-assess and worry about Europe in the new year. Meanwhile there's profits to be banked and positions to be squared ahead of the year-end.

The Russian Ministry have confirmed a clean weight grain harvest of 92 MMT, which they say will allow them to export 25 MMT this season. Of that 15 MMT has already been shipped by the end of November and a further 2.5 MMT is expected to go this month.

India's Food Secretary says that the country will probably bring in a wheat crop in excess of last season's record 85.93 MMT early in 2012. Harvesting of that will begin in three months time.

In the US, weather conditions "have grown progressively wetter in the southern Great Plains the past 6 weeks, easing drought in hard red winter wheat," say Martell Crop Projections.

"The subtropical jet stream has been unusually strong carving out a pronounced trough over the Southwest United States. Waves of showers keep spinning out of the trough into the Southern Great Plains. The GFS model indicates the persistent trough which has been dominant for over 3 weeks may eventually lift out of the southern United States after Christmas. Between now and then, there will more chances for beneficial rainfall in hard red winter wheat," they add.

Conflicting weather forecasts for Argentina this afternoon have the GFS model showing 0.5 to 1.25 inch rains between now and the end of the week, whilst the European model is still calling things relatively dry.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans up 4-6 cents, corn up 2-3 cents, wheat up 3-5 cents.