January soybeans were trading 4 cents higher late in the overnight session. China futures closed higher for the fourth session in a row, up 0.6% overnight, but they are up just 1.2% on the week. Malaysia palm oil futures closed up 0.4% on the session. Equity markets in Asia were higher today after a string of losses recently. Stocks in Europe also showed some minor strength to start the Friday trade. Early indications are that the US markets will open with modest gains. The US Dollar was slightly weaker against most of the major currencies. In the overnight action, the markets saw signs that large Japanese bank performance was holding together and that the Euro zone was able to post a trade surplus for October. The German upper house also reportedly passed its 2012 budget. Major US economic data to be released this morning are limited to the monthly CPI report, which is expected to show a minimal gain or an unchanged reading. The outlook for dry weather for the next week in southern Brazil and Argentina and maybe longer than a week for Argentina appeared to be the primary supportive force for the market overnight. Traders seem reluctant to price in any weather premium for the South America crop given the dismal export pace and given the fears of a global slowdown if Europe implodes. January soybeans closed higher on the session yesterday and pushed to a new high into the close, as buyers turned more active in soybean oil late in the session. This was impressive action compared to corn, wheat, crude oil and gold, as those markets sold off late in the session. Ideas that fund traders have built up a net short position going into a drier weather outlook for the second half of December for Argentina and southern Brazil is seen as a factor which could spark some short-covering support into the end of the week. Since the November 25th lows, open interest has been up about 42,000 contracts. Weekly export sales for soybeans, in the report released before the open yesterday, came in at 468,600 metric tonnes, which was slightly below trade expectations. China was the largest buyer of 354,200 tonnes. Cumulative soybean sales stand at 63.7% of the USDA forecast for 2011/2012 (current) marketing year versus a 5 year average of 68.5%. Sales of 336,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. Sales are running 35% below last year's pace. Meal sales came in at 103,700 metric tonnes for the current marketing year and 3,600 for the next marketing year for a total of 107,300. Sales of 98,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. Net oil sales came in at 5,500 metric tonnes, which was near the low end of expectations. Sales of 11,000 metric tonnes are needed each week to reach the USDA forecast. China's Agriculture Ministry indicated overnight that China's vegetable oil production this year will be up 4% from last year to 677 million tonnes.