It was a tricky start to the week for risk assets. Even
Sure, gains were possible, as
The little-traded March lot, freed from trading limits by the expiry process, jumped 5.25 cents, or 6.0%, to 92.71 cents a pound.
And in Chicago,
"Indiana has accrued a 10-inch moisture surplus since last August. Ohio was even wetter with a 12-inch surplus," she said.
"Soil erosion has occurred with excessive run-off from saturated fields.
"The best remedy for soggy eastern Midwest farms would be little or no precipitation ahead of corn planting in late April-early May," but the "forecast this week is very wet".
Furthermore, academics at Fapri, a much-respected cross-university grouping, came in with lower forecasts for US corn stocks in 2012-13 than farm officials have stated, with differences in ideas on sowings and use in making ethanol largely behind differences.
And some commentators detected potentially a technical boost to prices too.
Darrell Holaday at Country Futures said: "Clearly there is a short squeeze in the March corn," meaning holders of short positions in the expiring contract are finding it hard to find the grain to cover their position, and are being forced to pay up to get out.
"This is dominating the grain markets."
Certainly, the March contract closed 1.1% higher at $6.66 ¼ a bushel, with the May lot adding 0.9% to $6.60 ¾ a bushel.
But if there was any domination, with pressure from external markets.
Indeed, the default move for commodities was down, after China forecast its economic growth this year at 7.5%, the first sub-8% figure since 2004.
The CRB commodities index ended 0.5% lower.
Chicago wheat for May ended 0.4% lower at $6.72 a bushel.
Even soybeans, the darlings of Chicago of late, found themselves out of favour.
Sure, on the bullish side, the day brought some more downgrades to the Brazil's drought-hit soybean crop but, at 69.8m tonnes from consultancy Celeres and 69.5m tonnes from crushing industry group Abiove, they were well above some estimates of 68m tonnes which boosted the oilseed last week.
But the news from China was ill-received, with the country the top soybean buyer.
"The influence of the news out of China has impacted the soybean complex as it has been weaker most of the day," Mr Holaday said.
Besides, as US Commodities said, "farmer selling is picking up in South America" for the oilseed.
And there is the risk that the soybean data which really count, in the US Department of Agriculture's next monthly Wasde report out on Friday, may not live up, or down, to expectations.
Mr Holaday took issue with the last estimate for US soybean exports in 2011-12, saying it was "difficult to justify" given export data for the season so far showing up 25% lower than a year ago.
"USDA's current projection is 15% below the year ago level of 1.5bn bushels a year ago," he said.
Soybeans for May ended down 0.6% at $13.25 a bushel.
The weakness was reflected in soft commodities too, bar cotton, with New York
Furthermore, cane industry group Unica signalled that Brazil's Centre South region, the main sugar producing area of the top producing country, would achieve cane output of 518m tonnes this year, and 34m tonnes of sugar.
"This is at the upper end of most recent forecasts," Nick Penney at Sucden Financial said.
Nor did a huge rise in speculative interest in the sweetener help, as revealed in weekly US regulatory data, signalling potentially a reduced appetite ahead for more.