Early Call On Chicago

21/02/12 -- The overnight grains are mixed but mostly lower on the first trading day of trading after the long weekend with beans narrowly either side and corn & wheat around 6 cents easier.

Greece has got its bailout approved but the market is already wondering if it will be enough before the ink is even dry. That last one wasn't, so why should this second one in less than two years be any different? All it has done is maybe bought a bit more time.

The market is now turning its attention to the upcoming USDA Outlook Forum, although it seems most likely that they will simply re-iterate last week's baseline numbers of 94 million acres of corn and 74 million acres of soybeans getting sown in the US this spring. It's more than a month off before we get a set of more official figures with the March 30 planting intentions report.

European weather has warmed up, easing any further winter kill fears.

Pakistan says that it expects wheat production and exports there to match last year's bumper levels. India will also shortly begin harvesting an anticipated record crop of it's own.

Russia has exported 19.8 MMT of grain to date in the current marketing year, according to the Ag Ministry there, leaving 7.2 MMT to go before they hit their newly revised 27 MMT cap.

My agronomist mate in Ukraine, Mike Lee, reports that the Agrarian Confederation there estimate that 3.5 million ha of winter crops will need resowing this spring but that yields will be at the 5-year average. He also suggests that corn seed "is getting hard to come by."

Beans look set to remain the strongest leg of the complex. They were up by 3.1% last week, compared to wheat rising 2.2% and corn increasing by only 1.6%.

The USDA have just reported 250,000 MT of soybeans sold to China for 2012/13 and 110,744 MT of corn to "unknown" for 2011/12.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans flat to 2 cents firmer, corn and wheat down 5-7 cents.