Early Call On Chicago

19/01/12 -- The overnight grains are higher with beans leading the way up 10-12 cents, with corn and wheat both some 3-5 cents firmer. Crude oil is up more than a dollar.

Macquarie Group have released their latest estimates for South American crop production. Argentina: Corn 25.6 MMT, Soybeans 49.0 MMT. Brazil: Corn 60.0 MMT, Soybeans 73.6 MMT. Maybe more evidence that last week's USDA numbers weren't as outrageously over the top as the bulls would like to make out?

Beans are up on reports of Chinese buying ahead of their Lunar New Year celebrations starting Monday and lasting through all of next week.

The USDA's weekly export sales report is delayed a day to tomorrow due to the MLK holiday on Monday.

There's been a flurry of tender activity this last day or two after prices worked lower. South Korea have bought 230,000 MT of corn overnight, with 110,000 MT of that confirmed today as US origin. Japan has bought 185,000 MT of wheat in it's regular Thursday tender split between US, Canadian and Australian origin.

The USDA have also today confirmed 154,700 MT of US corn sold to Mexico and 110,000 MT of soybeans to China.

Bangladesh bought 60,000 MT Ukrainian wheat for Jan/Feb shipment this week, with UAE buying Black Sea and Kazakh wheat and Ukraine origin corn.

Jordan is tendering for 100,000 MT of optional origin wheat.

The IGC have upped their 2011/12 world wheat production estimate by 7 MMT to 690 MMT today, with ending stocks upped 4 MMT to 204 MMT. World corn production is also increased, by 8 MMT to 861 MMT with carryover coming in at 125 MMT, 2 MMT higher than previously.

Strategie Grains are forecasting an EU-27 2012 soft wheat crop of 133.3 MMT, a 3% increase on last year. They also peg 2012/13 EU wheat ending stocks 20% up on this season to 15.8 MMT and world wheat ending stocks for next season at a record 211 MMT.

Iran continues to wind up the west talking about a closure of the Strait of Hormuz if "Iran is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose." That's keeping oil prices steady.

Greece is into a second day of talks with private credit holders ahead of the imminent arrival of EU/ECB and IMF inspectors (if the latter turn up) to see if they are doing all they said they were going to do to qualify for their next cash injection.

News that the IMF is looking to to boost its resources in an effort to tackle the euro zone debt crisis seems to have provided a little boost. Where are they going to get the money from Mars?

Rains are on the cards for Brazil and Argentina this weekend and early next week. Parts of Argentina could get as much as as much as 1.5 inches over the weekend, with more to come Monday/Tuesday.

Early calls on this afternoon's CBOT session: beans up 8-10 cents, corn up 3-5 cents, wheat up 2-4 cents.