Investors, flying somewhat blind thanks to the lack of US Department of Agriculture data, were reluctant to stray too far in early deals.
Many markets took a downward turn thanks to the uncertainty inspired by political wrangling over the US budget deficit which has closed down Washington, the USDA included.
While there had late last week appeared some hope of a political resolution, such ideas took a step backwards after John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, on Sunday stepped away from a conciliatory tone, saying that it was "time for us to stand and fight".
Shares closed lower in Asia, by 1.2% in Tokyo, while shares opened 0.7% lower in London, and down more than 1% in Frankfurt and Paris.
However, for agricultural commodity investors, there was some cause not to succumb too much to bearish pressure.
After all, the US crisis has pushed the dollar to its lowest levels in eight months, near where it remains, a positive factor for prices of dollar-denominated exports, in boosting their affordability to buyers in other currencies.
And the strength of exports is an issue in soybean and, particularly, wheat markets, with strong starts in both crops to 2013-14 in terms of US sales to foreign buyers.
Demand for wheat is being boosted by a shortfall of quality supplies in many importing countries, notably Brazil and China, thanks to poor weather harming domestic crops, and while rainfall has also restricted availability from Russia, a keen competitor on price in export markets.
'Additional Brazilian demand'
"There continues to be talk of additional Brazilian demand for hard red winter wheat, which is likely the case," Benson Quinn Commodities said.
While Brazil normally buys from Argentina, that crop too looks like being disappointing, with Informa on Friday downgrading its forecast to 11m tonnes, 1m tonnes below the USDA number (although above the United Nations FAO estimate cut to 9.5m tonnes last week).
And while Canada, a major exporter, on Friday upgraded its forecast for its crop to 33.0m tonnes, there are doubts over whether the country's rail infrastructure can handle all the potential export volumes.
However, as to how much wheat importers have been buying, the shutdown in the USDA, and its alerts which reveal major US export orders, has denied investors clarity on that score.
And they received further reminders on the strength of global demand when Algeria, Iraq and Jordan unveiled tenders on Monday, after Bangladesh tendered for 50,000 tonnes on Sunday.
As an extra price positive factor, Russia's government is to replenish its inventories this season, after running then down in 2012-13 following a disappointing domestic harvest.
"The likelihood of a smaller crop for 2014-15 because of the drilling delays, the Russian government may well buy even more wheat into store to bolster supplies," traders at a major European commodities house, with substantial Russian investments, said.
Soft red winter wheat for December added 0.3% to $6.89 a bushel in Chicago as of 09:35 UK time (03:35 Chicago time), with Kansas City-traded hard red winter wheat, Brazil's first choice, up 0.3% at $7.52 ¾ a bushel.
That, in fact, lagged the gains in soybeans, for which US export sales have set off at a record pace, and for which Informa on Friday unexpectedly its estimate for the US yield, by 0.7 bushels per acre to 41.7 bushels per acre.
Furthermore, there are concerns over South American dryness which has slowed plantings of the oilseed, and corn too.
As of the end of last week, farmers in the key Brazilian farming state of Mato Grosso had planted just 1.4% of their soybeans, compared with 8.6% a year before, according to state research institute Imea.
'Looks pretty dry'
The weather outlook is mixed-to-better.
"Most of Argentina looks pretty dry over the next four days with no significant rain showing until October 11-12," WxRisk.com said, adding that "this does not look like a major rain event but certainly much-needed rain".
"Over Brazil, most areas also look to be dry but there will be some significant rains over Mato Grosso into Goais," the weather service added, talking of 65% coverage of 0.50-1.5 inches.
Soybeans for November gained 0.4% to $12.99 ¾ a bushel in Chicago, earlier returning above $13 a bushel for the first time this month (and adding the 10-day moving average to the moving averages it has retaken in October).
As for whether there could be bigger gains ahead, Benson Quinn Commodities said that "we could just see this this market settling into a tight trading range till South American weather takes lead role as market maker come December or the US government returns to work to give market a little shove one way or another".
And that looked pretty much the case for corn too, which edged 0.1% higher to $4.43 ½ a bushel for December delivery, but remaining near three-year lows, weighed down by the extent of the recovery expected in US inventories this season, with harvest forecasts high.
Informa on Friday pegged the US yield at 158.8 bushels per acre, ahead of the 155.3 bushels per acre expected by the USDA, but many observers believe the result will end up above 160 bushels per acre.
Still, wet US weather has, in slowing the harvest, at least eased pressure on prices from that score.
'Weeks of heat'
Among soft commodities, cocoa extended its rebound of the last session, adding a further 0.4% to $2,621 a tonne in New York for December delivery.
Joyce Liu at Phillip Futures noted "speculation that weeks of heat in Ivory Coast and Ghana could cause serious crop damage, outweighing the fact that rain was falling over the largest two cocoa producers of West Africa.
"It was highly unlikely that the rain could undo the heat stress experienced by the cocoa crops previously."
But cotton opened weak, falling 1.4% to 85.96 cents a pound, depressed by persistent ideas of a strong Indian harvest, which India's government has pegged at a record 35.3m tonnes, up from last season's 34m tonnes.