Latest FOB International Fertilizer Prices – updated at September 2017

Fertilizer Price Trends



N Urea (granular Arab Gulf) 198 226 229 256 252 212 192 177 178 175 201 237



N Urea (granular Indonesia/Malaysia) 205 224 231 260 271 237 215 208 209 193 209 249



N Ammonium Sulphate (China) 95 96 97 111 116 112 107 102 102 104 105 108



N Ammonia (Yuzhny) 168 78 229 274 305 317 316 305 251 199 193 202



P DAP (Russia Baltic/Black Sea) 325 311 311 319 347 378 358 341 336 334 329 328



P MAP (Morocco) 344 342 329 320 338 387 387 381 365 352 340 342



P TSP (Tunisia) 278 278 278 278 280 283 283 283 283 283 283 301



K MOP (Israel) 224 223 223 223 224 228 232 238 242 244 250 251



K SOP (in € North-West Europe) 438 435 435 435 435 435 435 435 435 435 435 434



NPK NPK 16-16-16 (Baltic/Black Sea) 261 253 248 245 255 271 268 262 251 260 260 266




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Fertilizer Market Comments



Economic principles are rarely wrong: other things being equal, higher prices bring forth additional supply, and so it proved in India in the last week of September where Chinese urea re-emerged as a significant supplier. Traders sold about 250,000t of Chinese urea in the IPL tender that closed on 25 September, out of 591,000t bought, based on prices in the high-$260s/t fob China. This was roughly equivalent to the Chinese domestic price. Despite low port inventories, suppliers found 250,000t available in the system in less than a week, with at least three of the four cargoes sold coming from inventory.
There were both positive and negatives from the tender outcome. On the one hand, prices rose about $40/t from the previous tender and confirmed Middle East urea prices at $270-275/t fob. Moreover, traders sold 206,000t of Arabian Gulf urea that will not now be offered in Brazil. On the other hand, the re-emergence of Chinese urea suggests that more urea exports will follow if prices remain around $270/t fob for November and December, additional supply that may limit further escalation in fob levels.
In the West, the granular urea market faltered after two weeks of very rapid price increase. Sales in Brazil took place around $290/t cfr at the end of September, showing no increase on last done, and one supplier reported offering at $280-285/t cfr. An Egyptian tender was awarded at $294/t fob, $8/t down on previous sales, and AOA finally resumed production at one of its plants in Algeria on 26 September, aiming to restart the second line in mid-October. The extra supply will provide competition for Egyptian producers and Sorfert in some countries.
The granular urea market reacted to the overly-rapid increase in prices during September. Short covering by traders stopped for the time being. In addition, traders with long positions started to take profits, selling below replacement cost.
Urea supply is tight enough for October-November to prevent a collapse in prices, and the real market level for urea is demonstrated by the sales in India at $285/t cfr and in Brazil at $288-291/t cfr.


Urea prices rose sharply and moved above $300/t fob on 19 September for the first time since June 2015. On 24 September, Mopco sold 10,000t of granular urea at $302/t fob for November shipment. The buyer was rumored to be Heliopotasse. Abu Qir held a tender on 26 September to sell 20,000t of granular and 20,000t of prilled urea for October shipment. It sold 15,000t of granular urea at $294/t fob and the full quantity of prilled urea at $273/t fob. Helwan Fertilizer held a tender from 27-28 September to sell 20,000t of granular urea for October shipment. It sold at $296/t fob.

AOA held a tender on 21 September to sell 20,000t of granular urea for end-September/early-October loading. This was urea from old stocks and said to have quality issues. It did not make any sale under this tender. AOA closed another tender on 30 September to sell 25,000t of granular urea for 10-20 October shipment. Unlike its 21 September tender, this time AOA did not mention old stocks of urea and it is assumed that the urea would be new production from AOA’s plants. The plants were shut down in mid-February until recently and the tender is the first concrete indication that production had resumed. AOA’s complex at Arzew has two granular urea units capable of producing 3,750t/day.
Trammo was in the freight market for vessels to load either 11,375t or 15,375t of granular urea in Arzew 27 September-1 October for Pasajes, Spain, or Pasajes and La Pallice, France.

Ethiopia’s ministry of agriculture has instructed buying agency EABC to purchase only NPS under its 13 September tender and avoid making any awards for urea. A letter to this effect was sent to EABC in the last week of September and EABC scrapped the tender. EABC issued a new tender, closing on 26 October for 550,000t of granular urea in eleven 50,000t lots for November-January delivery.

Ameropa was to load 30,000t of granular urea in Onne for Brazil from 6-10 October, bought at $285/t fob from Indorama. Nitron will load a 30,000t cargo in the second half of October.

Cote d’Ivoire
Intercoton issued a tender for 30.000t of urea, plus NPKSB, which is to close on 10 October.

Burkina Faso
Faso Coton issued a tender for 8,000t of 14-18-18+6S+1B and 3,000t of urea. The tender was to close 16 October. Delivery was requested to be between 1 January and 31 March 2018 in 50 kg bags.

CMDT closed a tender on 26 September for 48,500t of urea, plus NPKSB.

South Africa
The outlook for urea sales in the coming year was clouded by the huge maize crop harvested in South Africa. At about 17mn t, the crop was more than twice domestic demand of around 8mn t. Importers are concerned that carryover inventories will lead to a fall in plantings in 2017-18 and lower fertilizer use. Prices for import cargoes are currently $265-270/t cfr but will rise with the increase in fob prices in the AG, with most urea sold on a formula basis. Freight from the AG to Durban for 35,000t vessels was $12-13/t.



The phosphates market peaked, thanks in part to (a) a lack of Chinese product to sell for October and (b) cfr levels reaching unsustainable levels in India and Pakistan. These markets do still need substantial import volumes, but sentiment was now that India in particular would buy the bare minimum, then continue to buy in 4Q and 1Q 2018 in order to keep stocks replenished, at a time when the heat has gone out of the market and more supply from Morocco and Saudi Arabia is apparent. The market was firm with producers very comfortable already for October. But the sense was that November looked soft. The west looked less certain, particularly once the after effects of Mosaic’s recent travails have receded. In terms of major price movements, YUC sold DAP to cover a short in Bangladesh at $360/t fob. This price was no longer workable in India nor Pakistan due to domestic pricing (a weakening Indian rupee was of particular concern – moreover India is preoccupied with its urea tender currently) and there was a feeling that prices will fall back to $350-355/t fob in the coming weeks. Two more Saudi cargoes were placed into India and Pakistan at prevailing prices. West of Suez saw OCP report sales of 150,000t mostly MAP to Brazil in the low/mid-$360s/t cfr, with Russian material trading at similar levels. Brazilian sources confirm offers at these levels. Argentina continued to trade modest MAP volumes in the prevailing higher-$360s/t cfr.

OCP has been awarded all 15 lots of Ethiopian Agricultural Business’ (EABC) 750,000t NPS buy tender after the firm submitted the lowest offer prices. The 13 September auction was for 200,000t of NPS 19-38-0+7S, 500,000t of NPSB 1839-37.7-0+6.95S+0.1B and 50,000t of NPSB+Zn 17.8-35.7-0+7.7S+0.1B+2.2Zn. OCP offered $314.50/t for the NPS, $327.40/t for NPSB and $382.60/t for NPSB+Zn. OCP will begin shipping the 50,000t cargoes in October, with two lots for October delivery, three for November and three for December scheduled so far. The vessels will be shipped to a variety of ports, including Djibouti, to ensure all of the NPS arrives on time given the tight delivery timeframe — EABC requested all of the shipments to be made by the end of January. The award followed news that Ethiopia’s ministry of agriculture instructed EABC to purchase only NPS under its tender and avoid making any deals for urea — the firm had also tendered for 550,000t of granular urea. A letter to this effect was sent to EABC in the last week of September. No reason has been announced for the decision but traders point to the fact that prices for NPS fertilizers offered by OCP were lower than urea in some cases. OCP was sold out for October. Production will be 710,000-720,000t DAP/MAP and NPS.

GCT was fully committed for September with 20,000t for Turkey plus 30,000t for Italy, 10,000t for Spain and another 10,000t for France all sold in late August for late August/ September loading. There was also 5,000t for Libya and 10,000t for the local market. With production at 60,000t/ month DAP, there was no availability left. October was open with no sales as yet. Asking prices are $355-360/t fob.



Uralkali and ICL said they were fully committed globally on MOP until the end of the year, joining SQM, BPC, APC and Canpotex as suppliers that have reported the same or similar during September. Prices remained steady for MOP in the last week of September. Enquiries were rising in northwest Europe, and some suppliers were targeting €10/t increases from current levels. In Brazil, buyers were searching for October-loading MOP, but locals report that BPC was the only supplier that could supply in that period. Demand was still strong, and supply was heard to be tight. In southeast Asia, several tenders had been announced in Indonesia. Those with open requests were understood to include Bumitama, requesting 50,000t, while Musim Mas, Triputra, and KLK were seeking 10,000t apiece. A Kalimantan based plantation group called a tender at the end of September to close in mid-October, requesting 30,000-40,000t of standard MOP for delivery during November. The market will be watching these — and the Sinar Mas 100,000t tender — with interest, as suppliers continue to seek price increases in southeast Asia for standard and granular MOP. In the US, prices have fallen to $220-225/st fob Nola for granular MOP, as more imported product became available. Demand was due to pick up in the next few weeks. But northwest European standard SOP prices widened ending of September, to €420-440/t fob, on indications of an oversupplied market.

An Egyptian producer had raised its SOP prices for October, citing increased MOP rates. The levels had been brought up to $460/t fob for standard SOP, $470/t fob for granular, and $480/t fob for water-soluble product — an increase of $20/t in each case. The producer will review the prices again at the end of October.


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