By Roger Chesher

A STRIKE throughout Kemira in Finland has further restricted supplies of CAN and compound fertiliser building blocks, thus putting pressure on other Kemira sites to fill the gap.

This includes Ince in the UK, where there is a planned shutdown in May, the contracts for which must be signed and sealed by now.

From a February position of excess stocks, traders are now describing the availability of product as “short”.

It is now too late to expect imports, and imported AN, if available, would be 98/t on farm, with prilled urea at 104/t.

TSP and MOP prices are fluctuating around the 130/t mark on farm and raw material prices for P and K have changed little, so nitrogen remains the driver for price change in compounds.

We should now see a closing-off of the 103/t price for domestic AN and a move to the April price of 105/t.

Grades for second cut are unlikely to be discounted this year, and the price of compounds for grassland could well start to creep up now.

Nitrogen prices are now at a level where the majors should expect to be in profit this year, following losses in recent years exceeding 10 million.

There is still sufficient competition, and respect for the state of farm incomes, to prevent greedy pricing, but one should expect compound prices to follow nitrogen soon.

Despite this, the market remains one for immediate-use only, with farmers prepared to risk further price rises as the season progresses.

  • IR1=UK0.777 on 22 March

    CURRENT MARKETS

    Immediate delivery N (SP5) April delivery N pay cash Imported urea (if available) Imported AN (if available) Blended 20.10.10 Blended 25.5.5 Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t
    £97-103 – but hurry £105 Granular unavailable; prilled 104 £98 higher quality £105+ £93-96 £93-98/100,000 litres or £72-76/t

    NPK March, pay April
    Complex 25.5.5 103-106
    20.10.10/29.5.5 March/April cash 113-116
    17.17.17 March 130-133

    After cutting NK cash Complex 15.15.20 TSP (47% P2O5) Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
    113 125-130 128 128

     

    IRELAND

      Imported urea

    CAN

    0.23.24

    0.16.36

    Complex compounds
    27.6.6

    Northern Ireland 130 117 No market No market 140
     

    CAN

    0.10.20

    Urea, imported

    0.7.30

    Republic of Ireland* 115-120 No market 150-160 No market

    *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.

    *Prices in the Republic are IR£

     

    Note All illustrated prices are based upon 20 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

    Source: Bridgewater Partnership