A difficult harvest in the north and delayed planting in the south have delayed decision making in the pre-Christmas nitrogen market. But there are at last clear indications of price resistance in the P and K sector, writes Roger Chesher.

If this is reflected by attitudes throughout the world, the price of potash will surely start to drop. The same applies if demand for nitrogen starts to wane, but there is little indication of that just yet.

The long-term problem is phosphate, as reserves are limited. Almost unbelievably, TSP has exceeded the £700/t barrier and currency fluctuations may soon push it as high £760/t.

The order books for domestic AN are full until January, so any pre-Christmas business will be done at the January price, about £410/t. While conflict in Georgia has disrupted that country’s exports, there is still plenty of October AN available from Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland in the £365-£385/t price bracket.

Hopes that China may re-enter the urea export markets this month have been dashed, as their government tax on exporters has risen rather than fallen.

 

Fertiliser update September 2008 (£/t delivered)

UK SP5 34.5% N

NK aftercut grades (full analysis)

Imported urea Granular

Imported AN (various)

£410-413 Jan

£390+ Sept

£500

(Near domestic price)

Complex 25.5.5

Blended 20.10.10

Phosphate (TSP)

Potash (Muriate)

£414

(little difference for blends)

£435

£710

£600-630

*All illustrated prices are based upon 24t loads for cash payment month following. Prices for smaller loads and 50kg bags will vary considerably.