Latest FOB International Fertilizer Prices – updated at April 2018
INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY AVERAGE PRICES FOR SELECTED FERTILIZERS
|NUTRIENT||FERTILIZER||APR-17||MAY-17||JUN-17||JUL-17||AUG-17||SEP-17||OCT-17||NOV-17||DEC-17||JAN-18||FEB-18||MAR-18||1 MONTH||1 YEAR|
|N||Urea (granular, Middle East)||192||177||178||175||201||237||256||239||231||243||260||246||
|N||Urea (granular Indonesia/Malaysia)||215||208||209||193||209||249||282||274||246||259||273||268||
|N||Ammonium Sulphate (China)||107||102||102||104||105||108||112||116||113||115||117||117||
|P||DAP (Russia Baltic/Black Sea)||358||341||336||334||329||328||338||357||363||374||388||395||
|K||SOP (in € North-West Europe)||435||435||435||435||435||434||428||420||420||420||420||420||
|NPK||NPK 16-16-16 (Baltic/Black Sea)||268||262||251||260||260||266||270||272||273||273||284||290||
10 YEARS – 3 FERTILIZERS UREA/DAP/MOP
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FERTILIZER PRICE TREND FOR MARCH 2018
Rumors that an Indian tender would be issued in early April surfaced and proved sufficient to halt the slide in fob prices from the Middle East. Traders were wary of shorting AG producers with potential Indian demand for 600-800,000t in the offing for April-May.
News also emerged of another 100,000t of urea sold for Ethiopia, to be shipped from the AG, at prices in the mid-$250s/t fob.
But contributing to the weak tone of the market West of Suez, Algerian urea sold in the low-$240s/t fob for end-March and April shipment to Latin America. Traders have also sold short against Baltic prilled and granular urea in the latest business in Latin American markets.
Most traders have lost faith in any price rally in the US this spring. Despite reduced imports, a combination of logistical factors and competitive pricing from inland plants kept Nola prices at unattractive levels.
Middle East producers are comfortable through April and prices are unlikely to weaken much in Asia. Whether producers could force any increase in price, though, was very doubtful. Traders were not rushing to buy urea offered by Indonesian producers and buyers in southeast Asia have proven very adept at resisting higher offers since China pulled out of the export market
Conditions were much different in the West. There were two pressure points: Algeria and the Baltic. AOA had tonnage still to sell for April, while stocks were mounting in Baltic ports due to the difficulty in finding vessels to load there.
CHS completed loading 30,000t of granular urea on the CS Satira in Arzew for west coast Mexico, purchased from AOA. Ameropa is to load 30,000t of AOA granular urea in first half April for Colombia. The cargoes were purchased late March in the low-$240s/t fob Arzew. Indagro loaded the Louise P in Arzew with 40,000t of granular urea for the US in April.
Sorfert sold about 60pc of its availability for April, leaving around 40,000t still to place.
In March, OCI sold 2 x 50,000t of granular urea for April shipment to Ethiopia via traders at $253/t fob Adabiya. Mopco sold 50,000t of granular urea for April shipment to Ethiopia via a trader, priced in the high-$240s/t fob. ENPC/Mopco invited bids on 22 March for 25,000t of granular urea for April shipment. Mopco concluded a total of 35,000t of urea for April shipment to Europe/Turkey. It sold 10,000t initially at $248/t fob and then 25,000t at $252/t fob. Mopco has sold most of the urea it has available for April shipment. Abu Qir sold 25,000t of prilled urea to Ameropa at $245/t fob for shipment to Bangladesh. Its granular urea unit remains offline while repairs are completed.
Alexfert also sold a total of 25,000t of urea in several lots at $246 and $248/t fob for April shipment. Due to carryover from March, Alexfert still has 15-20,000t of urea to sell for April.
EABC purchased 2 x 50,000t of granular urea for April shipment to Djibouti. Midgulf and Samsung were understood to have purchased the urea from Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia respectively. This follows the purchase of 200,000t of Egyptian and Russian urea earlier in March. The urea was purchased from traders who offered in EABC’s 27 December tender at the lowest price – $320.42/t cfrlo Djibouti including local bagging. EABC also issued a tender which was to close on 3 April to buy 300,000t of granular urea for April-June delivery and a further 2 x 50,000t may be purchased to meet the country’s target requirement of 550,000t for the 2018 cropping season; Swiss Singapore earlier sold 3 x 50,000t under a tender that closed in December.
Yara was to load around 6,000t of prilled urea in MEB at the end of March for shipment to Annaba, Algeria.
The annual SFFRFM tender took place on 28 March and included a requirement for 21,000t of urea.
Indorama sold granular urea cargoes to Fitco and Nitron on a formula-price basis. Fitco is loading 30,000t prompt for Brazil, while Nitron was to load around 30,000t in second half of April. Mekatrade had 40,000t to load in early-April for the US. Domestic demand is increasing as the application season approaches in Nigeria and Indorama was planning a 12,000t delivery from Onne to Lagos in April.
ETG took an award for 11,000t of prilled urea to be supplied to TFR for distribution to private sector buyers. It will supply the urea from the AG.
The global phosphates market is headed for a marginal downwards correction in April. This is the result of a number of reasons. Firstly, key markets, most notably the US, China, Europe and Australia, are moving out of season. The global picture sees a seasonal lull prior to the twin big buyers India and Brazil gearing up for more imports. Secondly, China is likely to export more in April, both DAP and MAP 11-44/10-50. DAP stocks are already estimated at 400,000-500,000t with another 150,000-200,000t of MAP expected to ship in April. Traders have begun to go long, adding to the downwards pressure as supply/vessel line-ups swell, particularly in Latin America. Argus expects China to export fewer phosphates in 2018 owing to the much discussed dual reasons of more environmental and financial constraints. But still, an uptick in second-quarter export supply after the cessation of the domestic season is inevitable. Thirdly, India remained stymied by high fob prices from China, which are unworkable under the Indian subsidy system. Argus expects a resolution in the form of a higher subsidy for 2018-19 – this was subsequently confirmed as rising by around Rs 1,500/t for DAP, meaning imports around $420/t cfr were workable.
Global producers are keen not to place too much pressure on the key markets by diversifying into other areas or moving tonnage on MoUs. OCP sold a 50,000t DAP cargo in Pakistan, which says much for demand in Europe and Latin America. Phosagro is also looking at sales in India. Ma’aden has agreed a 100,000t supply deal with Chambal in India but this has not yet been priced. West of Suez saw a tender in Ecuador for DAP concluded in the low-$430s/t cfr by a trader. Incofe was to tender in early April. But Argentine demand is dead due to the drought and Brazil is still expecting more Chinese MAP availability. Chinese MAP prices have slipped again with 10-50 now in the $380s/t fob and 11-44 in the $330s/t fob.
Argus maintains that China will export less which will offset more supply from Saudi Arabia. OCP will not start commercial production on the fourth 1mn t/yr line until June and both the US and Brazil look short on imports. Indian buying will also accelerate, followed by Pakistan and Bangladesh. Thus any wobble in prices in early 2Q should be clawed back as we enter 3Q.
Saudi Arabian DAP/MAP imports are increasingly dominating the Kenyan market as Ma’aden/Sabic consolidate their position in east Africa. Full-year 2017 DAP imports reached 216,000t, of which Saudi tonnage accounted for 183,000t, 85pc of the total and a rise of 163pc yoy. OCP Morocco DAP imports fell 59pc to just 26,000t as Saudi product was better positioned geographically. MAP imports fell 7pc y-o-y to 35,000t of which Saudi Arabia supplied 33,000t, a rise of 77pc on the year. Moroccan MAP imports fell from 16,000t in 2016 to zero.
OCP reopened the port of Jorf Lasfar and resumed sales for April shipment. The port was closed on 26 February due to Atlantic storms and It is understood it opened around 18 March.
OCP sold 50,000t DAP in the high-$420s/t cfr to Pakistan. Freight was estimated in the mid-$20s/t fob indicating a $400-405/t fob netback. Otherwise April will see OCP concentrate on NPKs to Africa. It will push around 13,000t DAP to European destinations, mainly Spain plus the 30,000t previously sold to Gubretas under its contract with the buyer. The current line up comprises:
• Clipper Imabari 60,000t DAP/MAP/NPS USA etd 25 March
• Star Zeta 50,000t DAP/MAP USA etd 25 March
• AS Valdivia 50,000t NPS Ethopia etd 25 March
• Horizon 6,000t MAP Mexico etd 24 March
• Mardinik 31,500t DAP Mexico etd 27 March
• Nord Bosporus 37,000t NPKs Benin at anchorage
• Tamar 50,000t NPS Ethiopia at anchorage
• Aberdeen 3,300t MAP Belgium expected
The fourth 1mn t/yr granulation line is in the process of being commissioned. Commercial operations will begin sometime in May. But, this does not yet add to OCP’s granulation capacity as the associated phosphoric acid line will not be operational until June.
Foskor sold a 25,000t MAP cargo to a trader for 1-3 April shipment from Richards Bay to Rio Grande. The price is above $410/t fob. There was a freight inquiry to load 25,000t MAP in Richards Bay for Rio Grande 5-10 April by Indagro under the reported deal. South Africa exported 96,000t of MAP over the 12 month period ending in January, which is up by 142pc on the year. The rise in exports was driven by increased demand from Brazil. Brazilian importers bought 61,000t over the period. There was also another Foskor vessel scheduled to arrive at the beginning of April. In terms of regional markets, 30,000t was received by Zimbabwean buyers — up by over half on the year. And
5,000t was taken by Zambian buyers.
Indorama sold 3,000t DAP to Mali and local distributors from its 15,000-20,000t stocks.
Trader sources said the Agricultural Bank of Sudan would hold a tender to buy 75,000t DAP on 29 March. In early April this was confirmed as having been awarded to OCP at $400/t fob.
GCT’s granulation was still offline due to a series of protests by local unemployed youths over access to jobs.
Argus expects MOP prices to continue to firm in April and May, building on momentum carried over from last year when suppliers were able to take advantage of tight supplies of granular MOP, and to a lesser extent of standard MOP. Price expectations are harder to forecast from June onwards, as the rest of the year depends on two key factors — when China settles its annual MOP contract, and at what price; and the speed at which new capacity translates to added production entering the export market. Providing the Chinese consortium of buyers does settle this year, Argus expects the headline contract price to be in the region of $20-30/t higher than the $230/t cfr price achieved last year. Suppliers remain bullish on prices in 2018, and have achieved significant gains compared with last year, with little indication that the next few months will favor buyers. But there is always the chance that China will delay closing any deals until suppliers are willing to accept modest annual price gains to secure standard MOP sales. With new capacity threatening to upset the market, China may favor a wait-and-see approach, even at the risk of higher prices. Suppliers are offering lower prices if the consortium buys early, but this strategy has so far proved unsuccessful.
Egypt’s MOP imports rose by 21pc year on year in 2017, while its exports of SOP increased by 243pc.Both MOP imports and SOP exports are set to increase more significantly this year. Egyptian producer Evergrow — which uses the Mannheim process — is committed to extending its international market presence by increasing capacity and exports of SOP. The company said earlier in the first quarter that its SOP production capacity had risen to 360,000 t/yr. Egypt imported around 56,000t of MOP last year, up from 47,000t in 2016 and less than 10,000t in 2015, according to GTIS data. Egyptian exports of SOP rose to 49,000t in 2017, compared with 14,000t in 2016 and 5,000t in 2015. South Africa received a fifth of the 2017 total, and Syria 13pc, while smaller quantities were delivered to a variety of other countries. But Egypt — a large SOP market — imported almost as much as it exported last year. It took in 43,000t of SOP.
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