Up a bit, down a bit.
Grain and oilseed futures recovered a bit of ground in early deals on Wednesday as forecasts offered not respite, this week at least, to hot Midwest weather, boding ill for crops in the ground.
'Heat remains oppressive'
The latest run of the European weather model "is very consistent and does not offer any significant changes" to the forecast for this week, David Tolleris at WxRisk.com said.
"The heat remains oppressive and there remains a startling lack of any sort of significant rain except for North Dakota, the far northern portions of Minnesota into Wisconsin, and the Great Lakes into Ohio and Pennsylvania."
And while the model does predict "dramatically cooler air" for the Great Lakes the eastern Corn Belt and the east coast, and "some cooling over the Plains and the western Corn Belt, the front comes through without any significant rain", Mr Tolleris said.
Furthermore, "temperatures may be cold enough for a frost" next Wednesday, albeit not over a limited area of the eastern Great Lakes and western New York State as well as southern Quebec Canada.
An early frost has also been seen as a major crop risk.
Still, "clearly the biggest concern is still rain amounts so we will have to watch the morning and midday forecasts for any changes", a US broker said.
And then there is the question about how much crop loss markets have already factored in.
"It's hard to define exactly what type of soybean yield the market is trading at this point," a US broker said.
CHS Hedging said: "Many in the trade are estimating a nationwide corn yield of 152-155 bushels per acre, and nationwide soybean yield of 40-42 bushels per acre, due to hot weather and a lack of moisture."
At Chicago-based broker RJ O'Brien, Richard Feltes said: "A 42-bushels-per-acre final US soy yield would appear high to new longs that on Monday were kicking around the possibility of a 40-bushels-per-acre, or lower, final US soy yield."
Bears vs bulls
Mr Feltes summed up: "Opposing sides are digging in, with soy bulls confident that a sinking 2013 US soy yield will propel the market higher to curtail demand,
"Bears counter that a rally of $2.48 a bushel in November soybean futures from early August lows is more than enough to offset shrinking supply, until the market can gauge the impact of higher prices on rationing demand.
"We are reluctant to embrace either camp until clarifying precipitation prospects next week and getting more assurances that frost dates are indeed at, or later than, normal."
'Look for actual precipitation'
At Minneapolis-based Benson Quinn Commodities, Kim Rugel said: "It remains to be seen if late season rains can revive soybean crop at this juncture with damage already being done with this week's bout of extreme temps.
"Late August rains last season revived a crop that was in worse condition than crop is rated today.
"I still look for actual precipitation before calling this rally over, with Minnesota and North Dakota soybeans struggling at best."
November soybeans in fact added 1.0% to $13.84 a bushel in Chicago as of 09:30 UK time (03:30 Chicago time).
December corn rebounded 1.0% to $4.91 a bushel, although still not enough of a bounce to regain the 50-day moving average, at just under $4.94 a bushel.
Wheat, as has been usual of late, lagged, adding 0.6% to $6.67 ˝ a bushel in Chicago for December delivery,
In fact, there is a strong trend for December wheat futures to gain against November soybeans from the end of August to early October, according to Moore Research, a factor potentially related to the seasonal approach of the soybean harvest, and pressure from ramped up supplies.
Still, for now of more concern to wheat investors is the outcome of an Egyptian wheat tender, albeit that US origin looks unlikely to win, against tough competition from former Soviet Union and European Union suppliers.
The results of the tender will be announced later.
Among soft commodities, raw sugar extended its decline, but only by a modest 0.1% to 16.44 cents a pound for October delivery, after some mixed data on Tuesday on the Brazil Centre South crush.
While showing the best half-month for sugar production so far in 2013-14, it was down year on year, and lagged substantially the rise in cane crushing.
Arabica coffee gained 0.5% to 117.25 cents a pound for December delivery, supported by a fall in Brazil's real, besides a caution from the country's Conselho Nacional do Café over the spread of broca borer beetles.