Finally, grains and soybeans received enough price-positive news to allow, shock horror, futures to manage a positive start.
In the last session, factors including a falling dollar, further Chinese purchases of US soybeans, a recovery in US weekly ethanol production, a turn drier in the Midwest weather outlook failed to achieve positive closes in Chicago.
(Soft commodities did better, with coffee soaring on news of Brazilian government support, and cocoa on ideas that the Ivory Coast government has sold more beans ahead already than had been thought.)
However, Thursday provided an extra push, with Chinese trade data reviving hope in the world's second largest economy, and a major user of commodities, including many agricultural ones, too.
Chinese exports rose 5.1% year on year last month, recovering from a 3.1% fall in June.
Imports, having fallen 0.7% in June, soared 10.9% last month.
While share markets remained a little aloof, falling 1.6% in Tokyo and 0.1% in Shanghai, many commodities feasted on the better trade data.
Copper, of which Chinese imports hit a 14-month high, rose to its highest since mid-June in London.
Bumper soy imports
Chinese soybean imports were strong too, at 7.2m tonnes, hitting a record for a second successive month.
That was more than expected by many analysts, including Oil World, one of the more upbeat commentators on China's recent soybean needs, which had forecast the figure at 7.0m tonnes.
It also eased some of the concerns that the auctioning of some Chinese soybeans from state reserves might leave full-year imports short of previous expectations.
Furthermore, CHS Hedging noted that some "underlying support for soybeans continues from concerns over the development of the late-planted US crop", which is getting into the sensitive pod-filling phase.
"Weather for the major soybean areas are calling for cooler temperatures," which will hardly encourage development to catch up.
Soybeans for November rose 0.5% to $11.71 ½ a bushel in Chicago as of 09:15 UK time (03:15 Chicago time), and failing for the first time in eight sessions (yet) to set an intraday low beneath the low of the last session.
While corn did not have a trade prop from China (indeed, worryingly for US exporters, it was revealed on Wednesday that China has approved its first cargo of Argentine corn), it did have the dynamic of having already been massively sold by hedge funds.
Speculators have a record net short in corn futures and options, data on Friday showed.
And, with the grain considered technically oversold, that inspired some recalcitrance to extend short positions ahead of a key US Department of Agriculture Wasde crop report on Monday.
In fact, investors are expecting the USDA in the Wasde to lift by 12m bushels to 1.97bn bushels its forecast for US corn stocks at the close of 2013-14.
(For soybeans, the figure is expected to fall 32m bushels to 263m bushels.)
But what if it doesn't?
"While the long-term trend looks to remain lower on ideas that an already large crop is growing bigger by the week, I'd suspect the market will be reluctant to press levels much lower ahead of Monday's report," Ben Bradbury at Benson Quinn Commodities said.
"I expect sideways trade with some short-covering for the balance of the week."
Corn for December rose 0.7% to $4.61 ½ a bushel as some investors with short positions closed up and took profits.
Similarly for wheat too, in which hedge funds have a substantial net short holding, Benson Quinn Commodities said that" the appetite in the speculative community to establish new shorts or add to existing positions at these levels is worthy of question.
"The most supportive daily input in the wheat market right now is the size of the short fund positions and the possibility that funds could get chased out of a portion of the position."
And there is plenty of wheat demand around from end-users, even if much – but not all – orders are going to US rivals.
There is "continued talk of Brazilian interest in US hard wheat.
"The hard red winter wheat story merits attention with millers in Brazil paying at, or near, record prices for supplies," after frost damage to the South American country's own harvest.
More will be known on US wheat trade later with weekly export sales data, expected to show at 500,000-700,000 tonnes for the grain, all for 2013-14.
For now, Chicago wheat for September added 0.3% to $6.45 ½ a bushel.
For soybeans, weekly US export sales are expected at, at best, 100,000 tonnes for old crop and 700,000-1.0m tonnes for 2013-14.
For corn, old crop sales are forecast at 0-200,000 tonnes, and new crop sales at 450,000-700,000 tonnes.