Grains faltered in early trade after solid advances posted on Wednesday, although export sales ahead of the morning break added some buying strength to wheat and soybeans. Outside markets showed the US dollar correcting lower on steady gains in the last week while crude oil was in positive territory.

Corn has rallied to fresh highs on this move with March hitting $3.79 in yesterday’s trade, the highest market since July. Funds were buyers of 13,000 contracts on Wednesday and seemed to be the main culprit behind the bullish momentum with an estimated net long of 43,000 contracts.

Heavy rains are expected in Southern Argentina over the next 7-10 days with Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, Southern Santa Fe and Northern La Pampa getting the most moisture. In Brazil, weather looks to improve harvest targets as expected rainfall totals decrease from Parana to Bahia. In Mato Grosso however, the conditions are wet and looks to stay wet over the next few days, however rains should back off and give the area time to dry next week. 

Consultancy Strategie Grains on Thursday raised its forecast for this year's corn crop in the European Union but left its soft wheat crop forecast unchanged as it estimated that cold weather had caused no additional damage from last month. Strategie Grains pegged the 2017 soft wheat crop at 143.8 million tonnes, a forecast that would be 6 percent above estimated production of 135.7 million tonnes last year when output was curbed by a very poor harvest in top EU wheat grower France.