PRICES FOR popular grades of fertiliser have slipped back by £2/t or so this week (to May 12).

This narrows the gap between prices for blended compound fertiliser from regional factories and those for complex compounds from the national manufacturer.

With the spot market still relatively quiet, some softening of prices is only to be expected as supply modestly exceeds demand at merchant level.

But, at this time of the year many orders are for mixed or part loads and any order less than 20t will require double handling and more expensive transport per tonne.

That will result in quite significant premiums above the prices shown in the table below.

The aftercut NK, NPK and NKS markets are being keenly contested in the intensive grass areas but with the popularity of forage maize and whole crop cereals, sales volumes are down.

The end of the season is now in sight and few expect prices to change much from now on until the new season starts in July.

At manufacturer level signs are beginning to emerge of further rationalisation within the industry.

There must now be a great incentive for more unity between other western European fertiliser producers to compete in scale with Yara (formerly Hydro), which is vastly bigger than its nearest competitor

The enlargement of the EU provides opportunities for Baltic fertiliser producers to form alliances within Europe, rather than competing from the outside.

Another period of significant change within the industry is due.

Nitrogen (Domestic) N  (SP5) 34.5%

Aftercut KN

Imported  urea.

Imported AN Polish

Blended
20.10.10 & 29.5.5

Blended
25.5.5

Liquid
Nitrogen,
37kilos/100
litres
Or
29.6%N/t

£131

£127

 

£145 granular

£128

£128-133

From £123

£128

 

NPK

April

Imported
27.6.6

Imported
32.5.0

Complex 25.5.5

£135

£138

£128

15.15.20

£155

 

20.10.10/ 29.5.5

£139

 

17.17.17

£160

 

 

Trace elements 0.24.24 TSP (47%P2O5) Muriate of
Potash (60%K2O)
Copper, zinc, selenium,
cobalt Iodine and sodium Per acre pack £11.10
£123 £140 £125

Ireland

Benchmark prices

Northern
Ireland

Urea, existing stocks only

CAN

24.6.12

aftercut

25.5.5

 

Complex compounds
27.6.6.

 

£155-60

£130-34

£160 (anticipated)

£150-52

£160-62

 

Republic of
Ireland*

CAN, large price variations

24.2½.10 blend

Urea
Granular, non EU          

27.  2.5  5

 

 €195 €190-210 (Russian)
€225-240
€200-250
(dependant on source and quality)
€243 (CCF)
€200 import blend

*Note in the Republic of Ireland nutrients are expressed as elements not oxides.  Analyses will not be directly comparable with those used in the UK.
                  
Note All illustrated prices are based upon 24 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

       Source: Bridgewater