Commodities proved their contrarian streak, posting gains even as share markets weakened, undermined by the concerns over the US government shutdown.
Wall Street stocks stood 0.6% lower in late deals, echoing the kind of losses chalked up by European markets earlier in the day.
One benefit to commodities, apart from their rediscovered enthusiasm to move the opposite way to stocks (a dynamic which many observers put down to fund flow switches), was the lower dollar that resulted from the US budget worries, easing 0.4% against a basket of currencies.
A weaker dollar boosts prices of dollar-denominated commodities by making them more affordable to buyers in other currencies.
The CRB commodities index added 0.9%.
Among ags, the most notable gainer was actually rapeseed, which closed up 2.1% in Paris at E368.75 a tonne for November delivery, boosted by talk that the European Commission has submitted a final proposal for anti—dumping duties against imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.
Biodiesel is a major source of demand for rapeseed (or rather rapeseed oil) in Europe, the top consumer of the oilseed.
Indeed, the European Commission has been seen as something of a demon by rapeseed growers, in planning to cut the level of biofuels which transport industry must use, as a potential of overall fuel volumes, a reduction already approved by the European Parliament.
That, and improved ideas for rapeseed harvests in the EU and Canada, the top exporter - besides the hopes for the US harvest of rival oilseed soybeans, and the low palm oil values – have been a major weight on rapeseed prices, which fell below E350 a tonne in Paris over the summer for the first time in three years.
Still, Chicago's new favourite, wheat, enjoyed another positive close, its eighth in Chicago in the last nine sessions, continuing to feel support from the downgrade by the US Department of Agriculture on Monday (when it was still open) to estimates for domestic stocks, as of September 1.
The USDA reduced its estimate for output of hard red winter wheat, as traded in Kansas City, too, and which has indeed outperformed since (as Agrimoney.com forecast).
Kansas wheat has had extra support from the growing evidence of supply shortages in Argentina, after a poor 2012 harvest, and with weather damage to this year's crop.
Argentina is the default supplier to Brazil, a major hard red winter wheat importer, which is now being forced to turn to the north, or Europe, for supplies.
'Premiums have skyrocketed'
In addition to perceived tightening of US HRW stocks, the wheat market is drawing support from subpar Argentine weather and delays in former Soviet Union winter grain seedings, with potentially 2.7m hectares to be lost in Russia, on SovEcon estimates, Richard Feltes at broker RJ O'Brien said.
Elsewhere in Chicago, ," Paul Georgy at broker Allendale said: "Weather conditions in Argentina have producers holding on to old crop wheat supplies, which has processors scrambling to buy near-term needs.
"Argentina wheat premiums have skyrocketed in recent weeks.
Brazil's poor wheat harvest quality, depressed by late frost, "has the importers looking for high food quality supplies around the world".
OK, the news was not all so bullish, with Lanworth upping its estimate for the world harvest by 2m tonnes, albeit to 706m tonnes, still some 3m tonnes short of the USDA estimate.
The upgrade reflected improved hopes for the Canadian harvest which have been echoed by other commentators too, including Rabobank, which forecast a record Canadian crop, as it issued a bearish note on wheat (and other agricultural commodities).
Nonetheless, Kansas City wheat had enough support to lift the December contract 1.3% to $7.45 ½ a bushel, the highest close for a spot contract in more than four months.
That helped Chicago soft red winter wheat for December add 0.7% to $6.86 a bushel, the best finish for a spot contract, the best finish in three months.
In Europe, Paris wheat for November rebounded 1.3% to E192.75 a tonne, and London wheat for November 0.8% to £156.60 a tonne.
'Results continue to amaze'
Corn was not quite so lucky, in part down to wheat's fortunes, with investors spreading the grains.
"The wheat market continues to be the backbone, and we continue to see the spread traders pile into the buy wheat, sell corn trade," Darrell Holaday at Country Futures said.
Investors are encouraged by the talk of continued strong harvest yields.
"Harvest results continue to amaze producers in eastern half of the Midwest," Allendale's Paul Gerogy said.
"Corn yields continue to run 20-40 bushels per acre more than expected, with many reporting 200+ bushels per acre on average."
'Impending rain events'
This continued to detract from some more price positive factors, including strong weekly US ethanol production data – up 43,000 barrels a day last week at 875,000 barrels a day (in one of the few bits of US government information expected this week).
And this as ethanol stocks were drawn down too, by 104,000 barrels to 15.51m barrels.
Furthermore, there is talk of delays to the US harvest which is hardly barrelling along for corn anyway as producers focus on higher-priced soybeans where possible.
"The trade will also be focused on the potential influences of the impending rain events that are expected to hamper progress through much of the Corn Belt through the weekend and into early next week," Benson Quinn Commodities said.
"Potential totals still range from 1 to 3 inches with some localized heavier amounts."
Corn for December closed unchanged at $4.39 a bushel, matching the lowest finish for a spot contract for three years, and allowing its discount to December wheat to widen further, to $2.47 a bushel.
'Demand for soymeal strong'
Soybeans fare better, helped in part by a strong performance by soymeal, which gained 2.1% to $411.70 a short ton for December delivery, underpinned by South Korean purchases totalling 99,000 tonnes (albeit mainly from outside the US).
"European demand for soymeal remains strong, which likely speaks to the problems of securing supply out of Argentina," the top exporter, Benson Quinn Commodities noted.
The yield talk on US soybeans is not quite so bearish either, with FCStone pegging the outcome at 41.4 bushels per acre, 0.2 bushels per acre above the USDA estimate, but below figures of 42 bushels per acre or more that the market has been talking about.
("FCStone pegged the corn yield at 158.7 bushels per acre, which is in line with many in the trade and certainly not bullish," Benson Quinn Commodities added.)
Mr Georgy said that soybean yields in the eastern Midwest "are average to below average due to lack of late-season rains".
With potential rain delays to the US harvest too, soybeans for November added 0.5% to $12.73 ¾ a bushel.
Indeed, there may be a seasonal trend in play too, with US Commodities highlighting that history suggests a firmer performance in the oilseed.
"Traders should be preparing to seasonally buy soybeans and soymeal," the broker said.
"November soybeans are a buy on October 4 and exit October 20 - 80% of the time the market moves up $0.42 a bushel."