Seasoned campaigners in the fertiliser trade often remark about an infamous advert from the 1980’s when Hydro threatened to put a “Cat amongst the Pigeons” by buying the famous Fison fertiliser business. The result of that UK transaction was stability in the industry for farmer and trader alike, but the deal was small beer indeed compared to the purchase of 30.05% of Kemira Agro shares world wide, by Hydro successor, Yara. This Global transaction should ultimately result in the acquisition of the whole of Kemira by Yara, boosting the latter’s world market share by 2% from 6 to 8%.

Somehow 8% seems small to those of us in the UK who view Kemira and Yara as giants in the industry, being two of the original big three in the UK. Number one of that big three is of course Terra and it, in turn, is affected, as it is currently seeking approval for a joint venture agreement with Kemira in the UK. It seems that this agreement is continuing to go through, with decisions imminent and the fact that one partner has new owners of shares at global level does not appear a negative factor.

This goes to further illustrate that we in the UK are pawns in the immensity of the global fertiliser market, and the supply and demand equilibria of that market will continue to provide competition to keep UK fertiliser prices in line.

Indeed, the market continues to make a huge recovery and there are plenty of takers keen to get early season discounts and to buy AN at £150/t for delivery this month with payment in July. This price suggests a December/Spring 2008 price of £165+ and, once again, the earlier buyer should benefit. There is no cheap urea around, unlike last year, and the market is seeing a big switch back to AN.

So great is demand, that the manufacturers only have another week or so to go before running out of June priced stock, so the market is set to jump by £5 to £155/t in July.

Interestingly, anti dumping levies of €33/t have been extended for two years on Ukrainian nitrogen and they, in turn, have ironically applied for anti-dumping levies against Russia. Europe’s own levies against the latter are soon to expire but whilst Russia continues to operate two tier gas pricing, the sunset review is expected also to renew those.

Phosphate prices continue to soar with high P compounds hard to source.

Next week sees the Cereals demonstration, once the hotbed for fertiliser negotiations. Could it be that this year it is all done and dusted?

Great Britain

Straight
Domestic N(34.5%N) SP5 Imported AN
Only Lithuanian
Imported UREA Liquid UAN
37kg N/100litre (28.8 %N/t)
Around £150 Limited imports
£145
Granular £200-Prilled no interest £145

TSP (47%P2O5) £230 tight availability
Muriate of Potash (60%K2O) £165 upward trend

Compound
N.P.K Complex Blended
25.5.5 £155 From £147
15.15.20 £190 but priced out of market
20.10.10/27.5.5 £165 From 158
17.17.17 £200
Aftercuts (NK) £155
27.6.6 (imported)
32.5.0 (imported) No market
Autumn grades(PK) £184 No market yet

Compound
Trace Elements Copper, zinc, selenium,cobalt Iodine and sodium£11.80/acre pack

Compound
UREA CAN 25.0.13 aftercut* 25.5.5 27.6.6 complex**
Northern Ireland No market £140 £160-162 £160 No longer used Phosphate regulations
Republicof Ireland†

€220

€233

No market

€276 (CCF)


†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.
*Known as 24.2½.10 blend in the Republic of Ireland
**Known as 27.2½.5 in ROI
 
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