Early Call On Chicago

20/04/12 -- The overnight grains see soybeans 5-7 cents firmer, corn up 4 cents on old crop and flat to a cent higher new crop, wheat is around a cent easier. Crude is a dollar or so higher.

Including overnight action soybeans are around 15 cents weaker on the week so far, with corn down 4 cents and wheat unchanged.

Strong rumours of China's Sinograin buying US corn on the recent dip remain, but there are no confirmations as yet. They have however been confirmed as being in for US soybeans for the past three days.

As the Brazilian harvest winds down, we switch our attention to Argentina where the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange say that the soybean harvest is 37% complete, with 39% of the corn cut.

They are sticking with a soybean crop of 44 MMT and a corn crop of 20.8 MMT, although they acknowledge that early harvest results "are not meeting expectations".

The Rosario Grain Exchange peg soybean output at 43.1 MMT and corn production at 19.7 MMT.

The Argy Agriculture Ministry have cut their soybean production estimate there from 44 MMT to 42.9 MMT, and lowered corn output to 20.3 MMT from 21.2 MMT.

As well as drought earlier in the season, heavy rains and hailstorms have also damaged yields over the past month, they said.

Australia will have a wheat crop of 26.1 MMT in 2012/13, according to the National Australia Bank, noting excellent subsoil moisture in the east. That's 12% down on last year's record harvest. A significant switch into rapeseed sowing, which kicks off around now, is anticipated this year.

US weather remains largely favourable. Heavy rain in Europe, and the prospect for plenty more to come, has eased drought fears putting wheat under a bit of pressure.

Early calls for this afternoon's CBOT session: old crop corn up 3-5 cents, new crop mixed; soybeans up 5-7 cents; wheat mixed.