This week will bring important data for agricultural commodity watchers. But will it bring rain to the Midwest?
While the US Department of Agriculture's monthly Wasde crop report on Thursday is a certainty, rainfall for the key US cropping region is not.
The Midwest weather outlook took a drier twist, with a disagreement between weather models over rainfall levels reconciling to the idea that there will not be much.
"The models are significantly weaker with a cold front coming in on September 10-11," WxRisk.com said.
"All the model data, not just the European model, is dry with this front for the central Plains and western Corn Belt."
There will be some rain, of up to 3 inches, on Thursday and Friday, but it will be limited to eastern Colorado and western Nebraska, boding well perhaps for imminent sowings of winter wheat, but not for soybeans nearing the end of the growing season.
This drier trend in the outlook follows a weekend which disappointed on rainfall, with "not much significant rain falling over any portion of the Plains or the Midwest or the Delta", WxRisk.com said, saying rainfall "underperformed" expectations.
At broker Market 1, Mike Mawdsley said that the outlook meant that there was "no frost/freeze worry at present", but added that the forecast was "not conducive to adding to yields either".
All this only entrenched ideas that the Wasde crop report will indeed bring a downgrade from the current USDA estimate of 42.6 bushels per acre for the domestic soybean yield.
And most investors are betting on a bigger drop than the 0.2 bushels-per-acre downgrade forecast by Informa, in data released on Friday, with consensus forecasts at a figure of about 41 bushels per acre.
Also giving support to prices were Chinese import data at the weekend, which showed soybean purchases by the top buyer of the oilseed at 6.37m tonnes in August.
While below the record 7.20m tonnes in July, it was higher than the 6.04m tonnes expected by the official CNGOIC crop bureau.
Indeed, it was part of a positive set of Chinese economic data at the weekend, including export growth of 7.2%, which helped the country to its strongest trade surplus since 2008.
Inflation remained benign, at 2.6%.
Indeed, many markets showed strong performances overnight, with Tokyo shares soaring 2.5%, and Shanghai stocks adding 3.4%.
Brent crude eased a touch, by 0.4% back below $116 a bushel.
As for Chicago soybeans themselves, the November contract could not match their huge spurt on the opening session of last week, on weather concerns.
But the lot did add 0.5% to $13.74 ¼ a bushel as of 09:30 UK time (03:30 Chicago time), staying just ahead of its 10-day moving average, below which it has closed only once in the past month, besides keeping well above other major moving averages.
'Weakening cash corn market'
Corn did not take such succour in the Chinese data, not being such a huge import crop (yet).
Nor did it react so much to a dry weather forecast, being past the stage when conditions will alter yield prospects much.
Indeed, dryness is a positive factor in boding well for the harvest as it spreads through the Midwest, and boosting supplies, so undermining prices.
"The recent weakening cash corn market could be due to the harvest of corn fields which were maturing early and the approaching fresh supplies," Joyce Liu at Phillip Futures said.
'Farmers might not sow corn'
The news was not all so negative, with South Korea's Major Feedmill Group reminding of demand for the grain by buying 263,000 tonnes at roughly $235 a tonne c&f through four separate purchases.
Two of these stipulated worldwide origin, while two were limited to the Americas.
The deal followed a purchase by Nonghyup Feed of 60,000 tonnes at tender.
Furthermore, there is some concern over levels of Argentine sowings of the grain ahead with Ms Liu noting that "farmers might not sow corn this year due to dry weather, high financing costs, falling prices of US corn futures and export curbs imposed by the Argentine government.
"This could cause U.S. corn export demand to rise and eventually driving up US corn prices," she said.
For now, December futures fell 0.6% to $4.65 ½ a bushel in Chicago.
'Market will struggle to correct'
This decline made it tricky for wheat too, which dropped 0.5% to $6.44 ¾ a bushel in Chicago for December delivery.
It was little help that regulatory positioning data released late on Friday showed hedge funds returning to increasing their net short position in the grain, by 8,347 lots in Chicago in the latest week, after three weeks of short-covering.
With sentiment on the grain pretty flat at the moment, albeit with an eye to worries in Argentina and Australia, "the wheat market will struggle to correct [upwards] without the help of the row crops," Brian Henry at Benson Quinn Commodities said.
'Downtrend remains in play'
Among soft commodities, cotton managed small gains, adding 0.3% to 83.43 cents a pound in New York for December delivery, as China began its 2013 stockpiling programme, according to the China Cotton Association.
But will the contract extend its recovery from Thursday's three-month low?
"The recent downtrend remains in play," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Key technical point
And with Brazil's real making a firm start, adding 0.4% against the dollar, raw sugar gained too, taking on 0.2% to 16.83 cents a pound for October delivery.
But can the rally, also being fuelled by Czarnikow comments of stronger-than-thought demand, last, given that it brings the lot close to a technical point, the 100-day moving average, it has struggled to stay above for long for the last year?
"The market is again testing the 100-day moving average resistance level and 14-month downtrend, at about 16.95 cents a pound," Mr Mathews said.
"A breach of this level will pave the way for further near term gains to 17.30 cents a pound and beyond."
However, much will depend on the next Brazil Centre South cane crush data from industry group Unica.
"The focus will be on the release of cane industry group Unica's biweekly data next week as there are expectations of high sugar output from the Brazil cane crush," Ms Liu said.