Early Call On Chicago

15/03/12 -- The overnight grains ended with beans around 10-12 cents firmer, corn up 3-5 cents and wheat 2-4 cents higher. WTI crude is down 30 cents or so and Brent is down almost a dollar.

Soybeans are back in the driving seat after a couple of days rest Friday/Monday.

The USDA have reported weekly soybean sales of 609,700 MT for old crop and 784,000 MT for new crop, giving us a combined total of an impressive almost 1.4 MMT, once again that's well above expectations of 650 to 900 thousand MT.

Omnipresent China took 368,200 MT of the old crop and almost all of the new crop (669,000 MT).

Corn sales were 836,400 MT, all of old crop, at the top end of trade estimates for sales of 600 to 850 thousand MT.

Wheat sales were slack at 302,400 MT of old crop and 57,900 MT of new crop. Trade estimates were for sales of 400 to 600 TMT. Weekly shipments of 913,000 MT however were a marketing-year high and well above what we have seen of late.

Strategie Grains have cut their EU-27 2012 wheat and barley production estimates due to winterkill in France and Germany and drought in Spain. Corn production looks set to benefit on the back of increased plantings with output raised 2 MMT.

Agroconsult have cut their 2011/12 Brazilian soybean crop estimate by 2.8 MMT to 67.1 MMT.

US ethanol production fell by 14,000 barrels/day last week to 892,000 bpd. That's the first time in six months that output has been lower than the same week a year previously. Signs that the removal of the tax credit is finally starting to bite?

In China, corn futures on the Dalian exchange have jumped to new highs overnight.

Egypt have bought one cargo each of Canadian and US wheat for May delivery.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: corn up 3-5 cents, beans up 10-12 cents, wheat up 2-4 cents.