For the first time in aeons, grain and oilseed bulls had something to cheer about.
Sure, it was hardly a banner day throughout the complex, with wheat extending its decline, falling 0.3% to $6.41 ¼ a bushel in Chicago, if failing, just, to set a fresh contract low.
US weekly wheat export sales were above expectations, at 726,200 tonnes, up 22% week on week, but there remain concerns over whether prices are too high to keep trade ticking along, with high profile Middle East orders going to the Black Sea, Australia and Canada.
India reminded of its re-emergence as an exporter too, clearing an extra 2m tonnes for shipment, although believed to carry a price of at least $300 a tonne (equivalent to $8.16 a bushel), which makes US supplies look a bargain for all but neighbouring buyers with minimal shipping costs.
At least Rabobank gave bulls some solace by coming in with a downbeat figure for the Australian harvest, saying dryness was an issue in parts of New South Wales and Queensland, as well as Western Australia.
But benchmark December corn futures managed their first gain in six sessions, adding 0.3% to $4.4.59 ¾ a bushel.
The September contract closed up 1.1% at $4.73 ½ a bushel.
And soybeans did even better, soaring 1.6% to $11.84 ¼ a bushel for the new crop November contract, and 2.1% to $13.55 ¾ a bushel for the old crop September contract.
Chinese trade data got the ball rolling, showing July soybean imports hitting a record 7.2m tonnes, higher than many analysts had expected.
But that was only one of the point in bulls' favour.
US weekly soybean export sales were strong too, at 1.1m tonnes old crop and new combined, twice some market expectations.
Soymeal sales were OK too, at a combined 136,000 tonnes, including 67,000 tonnes for 2012-13, which is a notable amount given that little of the season is left and supplies are tight.
"Soybeans sales were on the high end of expectations as were old crop soymeal sales," Benson Quinn Commodities said.
Furthermore, the weather remained less than ideal, a particular issue for soybeans, approaching their sensitive pod-filling period, with corn past its vulnerable pollination phase.
"The lack of rainfall in the western Iowa and the north west Corn Belt this week has prompted some buying in the soybean complex," Darrell Holaday at Country Futures said.
Looking ahead, the GFS weather model on its midday run of "became drier in the next 60 hours, through to Saturday night, in the eastern Nebraska, north east Kansas, and Iowa regions".
US Commodities said: "The recent forecast is drier and cooler," identifying the driest areas as central and south western Iowa, south western Minnesota, the east Dakotas, central Wisconsin, and northern Missouri, equating to "approximately one-quarter of the Midwest".
"Dryness is expected to continue for these areas. The cooler temperatures is what has been the saving grace for this crop," in reducing moisture loss.
This when the Iowa crop is struggling in some areas, according to the MDA crop tour, which pegged the average yield figure at 197.5 bushels per acre, hardly a disaster, but up a relatively modest 24% compared with last year's drought-hit figure.
'Basis on fire again'
Cash markets, the source of heavy row crop selling two weeks ago, also turned higher.
Richard Feltes at RJ O'Brien talked of ethanol plants raising "corn basis, while the western soybean basis on fire again, with select south Minnesota soy processors paying November futures plus $2.10 a bushel".
"Soy buyers report near-depletion of soybean ownership by resellers who were trapped by the late-July basis freefall."
Jerry Gidel at Chicago-based Rice Dairy said: "There was a lot of talk at the time that processors had all their needs covered.
"But it looks like they had had part of it done, and have still got a gap before new crop supplies come online."
Will it last?
As an extra reason to buy, there was the prospect on Monday of the Wasde report, which has a habit in August (in 11 out of the last 12 years) of showing a US soybean production estimate below the consensus trade guess.
"People began to factor that into the equation, and the idea that it is Friday tomorrow, when you often see position covering anyway," Mr Gidel said.
"It will just be interesting to see whether this rally does continue into the weekend, or whether that is it for now."
Still, whether the recovery proves long-lasting or not, it was broad in its scope on Thursday with, elsewhere in the oilseeds complex, canola adding 1.5% to Can$485.50 a tonne in Winnipeg, and rapeseed gaining 1.9% to E362.75 a tonne in Paris.
Such gains actually beat those in soft commodities this time, although the general trend was higher here too.
In fact, commodities broadly gained, with the CRB index adding 0.7%, helped by the Chinese trade data and a 0.3% drop in the dollar.
A weaker dollar boosts prices of dollar-denominated commodities by making them more affordable to buyers in other currencies.
Signally for soft commodity investors, the dollar tumbled against Brazil's real, by 1.4%.
Brazil's importance in the likes coffee, orange juice and sugar production makes real moves particularly significant for prices of New York's dollar-denominated futures.
In fact, Brazil held other influences on the markets, with Conab, the official crop bureau, cutting its forecast for domestic sugar production.
That helped raw sugar for October crawl 0.2% to 16.82 cents a pound in New York.
Conab also cut its estimate for the orange crop in Sao Paulo state, Brazil's top producing area, to 296.8m boxes from 328m boxes, of which an estimated 252.7m boxes will be used for making juice.
The downgrade reflected a dearth of rain in the second half of last year, Conab said, although the positive impact on prices was reduced by separate data from trade industry association CitrusBR showing stocks of frozen concentrated orange juice at 766,000 tonnes as of June 30, up from 662,452 tonnes a year earlier.
Orange juice for September in fact eased 0.05 cents to 138.40 cents a pound.
Beans in demand
Arabica coffee added a further 0.8% to 122.05 cents a pound for September delivery, lifted by Brazil's move on Wednesday to support domestic coffee producers, and by late data showing a tumble in London stocks of robusta beans to 83,770 tonnes, down from 98,250 tonnes the day before.
And cocoa extended gains on ideas of dryness reducing harvest prospects in Ivory Coast, the top producing country, at a time when deliveries to ports are already believed to have tailed off.
Furthermore, Ivory Coast's cocoa regulator is believed to have sold more of the 2013-14 crop forward than had been thought, meaning more selling pressure already passed.
Cocoa for September gained 1.0% to $2,466 a tonne in New York, earlier topping $2,500 a tonne for the first time, for a spot contract, in eight months.