Many commodities found Tuesday hard going, but agricultural ones were not, generally, among them.
The CRB raw materials index dropped 0.8%, weighed by Brent crude, which dropped 2%, falling below $111 a barrel at one point, as a US strike on Syria took a more distant horizon.
However, most grains and soft commodities did better, if for reasons based more on fundamentals in some than others.
Raw sugar, for instance, gained some support in New York from data from cane industry group Unica showing a year-on-year decline of 3.7% in production in Brazil's key Centre South region, despite a 4.3% rise in cane processing volumes.
Although the financial case for turning cane into sugar, rather than ethanol, has improved, restraints from the likes of contracts, and operational technicalities, limit mills' ability to switch, Unica said.
That said, Thomas Kujawa, co-head of the softs department at Sucden Financial, said that the sugar market debate "seems to be centred more on the demand side of the equation recently".
He flagged "conjecture on the levels of domestic price/demand in the leading Far Eastern end destinations and open discussion, notably from one leading trade house [Czarnikow], of the 'scaling back' of the general consensus opinion" on the world sugar surplus.
Furthermore, October sugar futures got a bit of chart support too, after their close to the last session back above the 17.00-cents-a-pound mark.
The lot added a further 1.0% on Tuesday to reach 17.18 cents a pound well clear of its 100-day moving average, which it is has had since spring last year trouble closing above for long.
In Chicago, grains managed some recovery, especially corn, which for December closed up 1.2% at $4.69 a bushel.
Not that there was too much excitement at the recovery, which was seen as reflecting technical rather than fundamental factors.
"I do not sense any great change in attitude towards corn out there," Brian Henry at Benson Quinn Commodities told Agrimoney.com.
After all, results from the US harvest, now reaching central Illinois and Missouri, so far have been "pretty darn good".
Darrell Holaday at Country Futures said: "Corn yields just continue to be very good and in many areas of concern they are significantly better than expected.
"Kernel depth seems to be the item that is resulting in better yields than expected as ear weights are above expectations in many areas."
As an extra depressant, worries continue about the competition to the US in export markets from South American rivals, and the Ukraine.
"The Black Sea and Brazil export corn offers remain under the US values," US Commodities said.
"Black Sea corn is under $4 a bushel [FOB] and Brazil corn is about $4.25 a bushel. This will challenge US exports."
Mr Henry said: "Even the European offer on corn was cheaper than the US the other night."
'A lot of spread trading'
Still, on the plus side, investors were seen closing positions and taking profits ahead of the US Department of Agriculture's key Wasde crop report due on Thursday.
For corn, in which speculators have a net short position, that means buying pressure on prices, which was accentuated by spreading.
"The slower volume ahead of the Thursday's USDA numbers is certainly surfacing and the result is a lot of spread trading within each commodity and across commodity lines," Mr Holaday said.
That was a supportive factor for wheat too, in which investors also have a net short position.
Furthermore, as Mr Henry noted, "investors have a tendency to hedge shorts on other crops against wheat.
"Wheat gets support when the short side closes out."
However, the grain did have some fundamentals on its side with, on the demand side, Iraq tendering for wheat, and Egypt buying a sizeable 235,000 tonnes of wheat at the latest in a spate of tenders.
While Egypt's Gasc authority ordered the wheat from the Black Sea exporters, that is nothing for wheat bulls to worry about, Macquarie said in an upbeat briefing on wheat prices.
On supplies, Brazil's official Conab crop agency cut its harvest forecast to 4.95m tonnes from 5.62m tonnes, citing damage from frost in the southern state of Parana, and warning that a further downgrade could be in order, given that there had been more freezes since it collected its data
Brazil is anyway an importer of wheat, unlike of corn, and is seen having to turn largely in 2013-14 to North America for supplies given the poor 2012-13 harvest in Argentina, and waning hopes there for the next crop too thanks to drought.
(That said, forecasts offer "modestly better chances for rains this week" in dry areas of Argentina's wheat belt, "although the need for additional rains will be ongoing", Richard Feltes at RJ O'Brien said.)
This followed a 932,000-tonne downgrade by Australia's Abares commodities bureau to its forecast for the domestic wheat crop.
Chicago soft red winter wheat for December closed up 0.8% at $6.46 ½ a bushel, with its Kansas hard red winter wheat peer adding 0.9% to $6.94 ¾ a bushel.
In Europe, Paris wheat for November added 0.3% to E187.75 a tonne, but London wheat for November eased 0.2% to £154.50 a tonne, undermined by a strengthening pound.
Back among soft commodities, cotton gained 1.2% to 84.47 cents a pound in New York for December delivery, helped by further positive economic data overnight from China, the top consumer, producer and importer of the fibre.
The USDA is also, in Thursday's Wasde report, expected to cut the estimate for domestic production.
But with Brazil's real returning to weakening against the dollar, by some 0.4%, arabica coffee, of which Brazil is the top producer and exporter, found headway harder to come by, falling 1.2% to 116.65 cents a pound for December delivery.
Conab also provided mixed data for coffee investors late on Monday, cutting its forecast for the domestic crop of robusta beans by 1.3m bags to 12.18m bags, but nudging its estimate for the arabica crop 250,000 bags higher to 36.66m bags.
The data reflect the discrepancy Agrimoney.com flagged on Monday between a firm Brazilian robusta market and weakening arabica prices.
Still on the futures markets, robusta beans fell too, by 0.6% to $1,747 a tonne for November delivery.