May soybeans were trading down 6 cents late in the overnight session. China futures closed down 0.4% overnight and palm oil futures in Malaysia closed down 0.4%. Asian equity markets were weaker overnight off news that Chinese trade numbers might signal further slowing. European equity markets were also lower because of weaker growth forecasts and lingering fears over Greece. Surprisingly, the European markets were not cheered by slightly lower debt yields overnight or by talk that there will be a decision on the next Greek bailout by Monday. Early US stock market action was weaker, as US economic data this week has been uninspiring. In looking forward to the US trade today, the market will see another active slate of economic news, with US Housing starts and permits potentially the main feature of the Thursday US trade. However, the metals markets usually pay some attention to inflation figures from the PPI, which are expected to post minimal gains. Commodity markets will also take some direction from US initial claims and ongoing claims figures, which are expected to show some minor declines. Strong cash markets in South America have been the primary supportive force for the market this week as uncertainty on supply has been key. This has caused US soybeans to remain competitive on the world market and could support better exports ahead. Ideas that the trade delegation from China may also announce new crop sales from the US helped to support the market yesterday and China has signed letters of understanding to buy 8.6 million tonnes of US soybeans yesterday in Iowa. Traders suspect more sales will be revealed as the delegation moves to California today. The weekly broiler report showed eggs set down 4% from last year and chick placements down 3% from last year which is a slight improvement from recently but suggests sluggish meal demand into April. May soybeans closed moderately higher on the session yesterday but well off of the highs. The early rally pushed the market to the highest level since October 17th as adverse weather in southern Brazil, new buying from China and supportive news from outside market forces helped to support. Late weakness in equity markets and a turn up in the US dollar and weakness in the other grains helped to pull the market off of the highs. Traders are monitoring the situation closely in Santos Brazil after a bulk carrier collided with 4 grain loaders. It will be important to see the loaders actively in use soon in order to avoid significant delays which could cause some business to shift back to the US. The China National Grains and Oils Information Center revised their import forecast for the 2011/12 season down by 1 million tonnes to 55 million and this compares with the current USDA forecast of 55.5 million tonnes. Private exporters reported a sale of 116,000 tonnes of US soybeans to China for the 2011/12 time frame. Traders see further crop losses in southern Brazil for the next 3-4 days as hot and mostly dry weather stresses the crop. This has been partially offset by improving crop conditions for Argentina soybean crops and expectations for further good rain events in Argentina this week. For the weekly export sales report, for release this morning, traders see soybean sales near 875,000 tonnes.