The end of the month is typically a time of selling in agricultural commodities, as funds tidy up positions, with month beginnings seen as more of a time of cash injections.
But have investors this time got their selling in already?
Certainly, crops made a firm start to Wednesday, both in Chicago and New York, joining in some of a risk-off atmosphere on financial markets, which was spurred by better corporate results in Europe and Asia than in the US, and by some positive economic signals too.
Production in South Korea rose for the first time in four months, Taiwan's economy returned to growth in the third quarter and Singapore reported a drop in unemployment.
In Japan, while there was initial disappointment over the Bank of Japan's latest monetary policy measures, investors took heart from an unusual joint statement from the central bank and the government in which they restated their determination to tackle deflation.
Shares rose in Asian markets, and made a bright start in Europe too, while the safe haven of the dollar dropped 0.3% as of 09:30 GMT/UK time (05:30 New York time, 04:30 Chicago time).
A weaker dollar adds extra support to prices of dollar-denominated exports, such as many commodities, by making them more affordable, and indeed Brent crude touched 0.5% higher.
Among agricultural commodities, corn and soybeans too had extra support from the growing concerns over South America's crops, thanks to poor weather, as highlighted by Agrimoney.com on Tuesday, although it has to be restated that this is still early days.
Sowings have lagged behind last year's pace in Argentina, thanks to excess rainfall, and Brazil, which has also been overly watered in the south, with too little further north.
'Problem now is too much rain'
"Remember the drought in parts of Argentina last year? Not the issue at this time," Mike Mawdsley at broker Market 1 said.
"Their problem now is too much rain. Planting is well behind its normal pace.
"This story certainly needs monitoring. Their crop is not only not in the bin, it's not all in the ground yet."
The issue is particularly acute for corn, which is typically earlier sown than soybeans. Soybeans could yet see some switch from farmers unable to plant the grain.
"Violent storms of hail and rain that ravaged through the Pampas farm belt of Argentina may cause a potential output slash of up to 20% for corn and 10% for soy," Lynette Tan at Phillip Futures said.
Forward sales slow
In Brazil, 28% of soybeans are in the ground, compared with 41% a year ago, if still a little ahead of the average, according to consultancy Safras e Mercado.
And the decreased confidence has shown up in a slowdown in the rapid pace of forward sales of the crop which has seen some 48% of the expected harvest sold already, up from 23% a year ago, according to Celeres.
The data are "indicating that the pace of forward soybean sales remains well ahead of the prior year, but has slowed over the course of the last couple of weeks", Benson Quinn Commodities noted.
And this before getting to ideas that China is in the market for purchases, amid ideas that its own crop may be far lower than the figures above 12m tonnes forecast by the US Department of Agriculture and restated by USDA staff in Beijing in a report overnight.
OK, Chicago faces the uncertainty over the extent of deliveries booked against the expiring November soybean contract, with ideas rising to 500 contracts or more, a potential negative for prices, in signalling that sellers are keener on disposals though futures than the cash market.
But the November contract did itself a favour, technically, in early deals in regaining its 20-day moving average as it rose 0.8% to $15.45 ¼ a bushel.
The better-traded January lot added 0.8% to $15.48 ¾ a bushel.
The near-completion of the US harvest (expected to be confirmed in USDA data later), and damage to some of what is left by Hurricane Sandy, also eased pressure on the oilseed and on corn, which added 0.8% to $7.47 ¾ a bushel for December delivery.
Wheat is also getting some support from South America's woes, with the Rosario grains exchange estimating the crop in Argentina – the second-ranked exporter in the southern hemisphere – at 10m tonnes, well below the USDA forecast of 11.5m tonnes, thanks to wet weather damage.
And there is an expectation that the first national ratings for US winter wheat seedlings will come in low too, after a poor start already highlighted in data for Kansas, the top producing state, where dryness is lingering.
However, ahead of that, the market will later on Wednesday see the results of the latest Egyptian tender, which will show the relative competitiveness of different supplies.
"A purchase of US origin would be unexpected, but the values and spread between US and other origins will help dictate the tone of Wednesday's session," Benson Quinn Commodities said.
Ahead of the data, wheat for December was 1.1% ahead at $8.66 ¼ a bushel.
Elsewhere, New York cotton maintained its knack for volatility, rising 1.3% to 71.84 cents a pound for December delivery, recovering some of the ground lost in the last session largely on a technical whim, after failing in an attempt to get back above its 100-day moving average.
It remains below this line, at 72.94 cents a pound, amid something of a bunching of 10-, 20-, 50-and 100-day moving averages, which may signal more fireworks to come, depending on how the low negotiates its technical mine field.
And raw sugar was nudged by the weaker dollar to a 0.01 cent gain to 19.57 cents a pound for March delivery.
In Kuala Lumpur, palm oil did better, adding 0.7% to 2,518 ringgit a tonne for January delivery, helped by the rises elsewhere in the oilseeds complex in soybeans.
Furthermore, cargo surveyors showed rising Malaysian exports so far this month, helping investors put aside for now worries over lower export duty rates ahead from top shipper Indonesia.
Intertek estimated palm oil shipments up 9.3% so far this month, with SGS putting the rise at 10.9%.