Wednesday brought another reason for investors to warm to risk assets – well-received Chinese inflation data.
With last night's news of Silvio Berlusconi agreeing to step down as Italy's prime minister raising hopes for a solution to that country's debt challenges having already put investors in a bright mood, they received a further fillip from a slip to 5.5% in Chinese inflation last month.
The figure was the lowest for five months, and down from 6.1% in September, and signally was seen as victory for those believing a "soft landing" for China's too-hot-for-comfort economy could be achieved.
Indeed, it was seen as opening the door to a potential reversal of some of the monetary strictures put in place to slow price rises.
And with easier monetary policy should come faster economic growth (besides bigger consumption of the commodities feeding China's boom).
Agricultural commodities might too have shown an enthusiastic response, were it not for the prospect of the US Department of Agriculture's key Wasde crop supply and demand report later on, a monthly highlight of crop markets.
Sure, some crops managed gains, including
A firm performance by Zhengzhou cotton in China helped, with the May lot added 0.2% to 20,305 yuan a tonne, getting a little further distant from its drop below 20,000 yuan last month to set a contract low.
Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia noted "hopes that political stability in Italy and Greece will help calm market nerves and support consumer sentiment", particularly important for a non-food farm commodity, more linked to discretionary spending.
That said the Wasde looms here too. "Production prospects in the US, Pakistan, India and China will be closely scrutinised in tonight's report, as will global consumption forecasts," Mr Mathews said.
The prospect of a downgrade to the USDA yield estimate was one reason to keep selling at bay.
But so are buoyant ideas about consumption, at a time when cash markets are firm, raising ideas of futures as a means of ensuring supplies.
"Cash markets are noted to have continued to narrow as pipeline replacement has been difficult to surface as we come out the back end of harvest," Jon Michalscheck at Benson Quinn Commodities said.
"The producer appears to be flush with cash and remains an unwilling seller with the board well over $1 a bushel below its summer high, and that is making replacement bushels difficult to come by."
And there are a myriad of technical forces at work as well.
As Agrimoney.com noted on Monday, charts may be signalling the corn is about to break out of its recent trading range.
Lynette Tan at Phillip Futures put it so: "Corn has been trading in a tight range between $6.30-6.60 a bushel, looking for a potential breakout of the tightening Bollinger bands."
And its thread upwards through a minefield of chart triggers has raised hopes of an upward breakout – Wasde data allowing.
The December lot's move up on Wednesday took it near the key level of $6.65 ½ a bushel, its October high, and towards its 50-day moving average at $6.66 ¼ a bushel.
Rains are expected in Australia, but it's not clear how much damage this will do, in falling on some areas where grains are not yet mature.
"The next two days will see fairly heavy rainfall through most of Victoria and southern New South Wales. Most of the wheat belt in these areas could get 10-25mm of rain today, with the same again for southern New South Wales on Thursday," Paul Deane at Australia & New Zealand Bank said.
CBA's Luke Mathews noted "expectations that the USDA will trim US soybean export demand" estimates in the Wasde, given buyers' increased enthusiasm for South American supplies.
Chicago's January contract fell 0.2% to $12.02 ¼ a bushel.
In Asia, Kuala Lumpur
Earlier the contract set a one-year low of 266.20 yen a kilogramme.