Early Call On Chicago

16/04/12 -- The overnight grains ended with beans 10 cents or so lower, corn down 8-10 cents and wheat 6-7 cents weaker in a general "risk-off" vibe.

Greek woes now seem but a distant memory as Spain gets reluctantly dragged into the limelight. Worries over Chinese growth are also giving the market a few jitters.

Brazil's Safras say that the soybean harvest there is 85% complete, compared to 87% a year ago and 78% normally.

Weekend rain activity provided beneficial moisture to much of the US Plains and Midwest. That may slow plantings a bit, but that isn't a problem at this stage and will certainly do more good than harm.

Wetter weather for Europe over the weekend and throughout the coming week should also be of benefit.

The NOPA March soybean crush was 140.5 million bushels, up more than 4 million from Feb but below trade estimates.

Soy meal open interest is at the highest since December 17th, 2007. Spec soybean longs are running at record levels and length in corn is also significant. For wheat however they hold a hefty short.

The USDA will report after the close on US planting progress and crop conditions. Last week we had spring wheat at 21% complete, corn sowings at 7% planted and winter wheat good/excellent jumping from 58% to 61%, well ahead of the 36% this time a year ago.

Some reports suggest that corn plantings may have jumped to as much as 20% complete now that insurance qualification dates have been met. I don't see the corn number being quite that high personally. Spring wheat sowings may hit 50% done, some suggest.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: beans down 8-10 cents, corn & wheat 6-8 cents lower.