Early Call On Chicago

23/04/12 -- The overnight gains saw soybeans around 10-12 higher, with corn up 2-3 cents and wheat 4-6 cents firmer. Crude is a bit steadier and the dollar a little weaker, both of which should help the grains.

Stats Canada are out today with their estimates on plantings there, placing the all wheat area at 24.32 million acres, almost a million above the 23.4 million that the trade was expecting and 13.3% up on last year.

The rapeseed area is seen at 20.37 million acres, slightly lower than the anticipated 20.6 million, but still a record and 8% up on last year.

The announcement just out from the USDA of the sale of 480,000 MT of old crop corn to unknown will get a few excited this afternoon no doubt. It looks like the Chinese rumours were true, and if they were then there could be more announcements to come as 1 MMT was the widely touted volume, with some suggesting significantly more than that.

China is sitting on 46% of the world's corn stocks, according to the USDA. Yet domestic prices there are amongst the highest in the world, approaching USD10/bushel on the Dalian Exchange, with soybeans around USD19/bushel and soymeal USD550/tonne.

We have talk of a freeze in both the US and Argentina potentially harming newly planted or about to be harvested corn & soybeans.

The USDA last night pegged spring corn planting at 28% complete, which although that is well ahead of normal is actually a fair bit lower than the trade was expecting.

Winter wheat maturity is well advanced, and there must be plenty of growers hoping that an early harvest will mean an opportunity to plant double crop beans or corn.

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