By Mike Stickland
A FLURRY of movement on domestic nitrogen has started in the fertiliser market.
Manufacturers set a price of 90/t delivered with December payment. Some of the very big orders were placed well below this, even as low as 85/t for payment in September, though more commonly 86-87 for August or September payment.
The vast majority of deliveries have been on a trust or maximum price basis. Manufacturers are now trying to push the price up above the 90 level with a list price of 95. This will mainly now be for delivery after harvest.
Imported ammonium nitrate has hardly featured in the market. The price differences on offer are just not enough.
As the world urea market is very low, producers are loath to take forward orders. At this time of year there is often a good trade for granular urea for September or later delivery, but this has not happened yet.
The market for PK fertilisers is weak and slow. Although todays prices are marginally below last years, buyers feel that the price should reflect the weakness in the nitrogen market and so are hanging back. In this case, a reluctance to buy will not bring the prices down. Raw material costs are firm and margins are already very slim.
Fertiliser prices, June 1998 (/t) (updated monthly)
Region Domestic AN Imported AN 0-24-24 South East 86-90 82-84 112-114
South West 86-88 83-84 112-114
East Anglia 86-89 82-84 112-114
Midlands 86-90 83-85 113-115
Wales 88-92 84-88 113-115
North East 86-89 82-84 112-114
North West 86-90 84-85 113-116
Scotland 86-91 83-85 112-116