By Mike Stickland
MANUFACTURERS have managed to squeeze almost all the sub-£90/t ammonium nitrate out of the market.
In the process, what little trade there was for UK-produced AN has practically stopped. The price is recorded below as £95/t, because that is what the producers have deemed it to be. It is not, as normal practice, a statement of actual transactions.
As far as imported fertiliser goes, there is little action and a lot of talk. There are, apparently, a number of cargoes arriving in the next six weeks around the coast, though still much less than we have seen in previous years. Weak prices reflect the lack of interest in the market.
The market for NPK fertilisers is stirring, with national complex 20-10-10 on offer pre-Christmas for £110/t and post-Christmas for £115/t. Blends are £5 or more below these indications.
Granular urea is widely offered at varying prices, but prompt offers just over £100/t seem excellent value. For those that can handle it effectively, prilled urea in the low £90s/t must be a remarkable buy (equivalent to AN at £68/t).
World prices remain weak everywhere.
Fertiliser prices, November 1998 (£/t) (updated monthly)
Region Domestic AN Imported AN Urea Prills 0-24-24 South East 95 73-80 92-94 109-113
South West 95 75-81 93-95 108-112
East Anglia 95 73-80 92-96 108-112
Midlands 95 72-80 92-95 108-111
Wales 95 76-82 NM 110-113
North East 95 75-80 92-96 109-112
North West 95 75-82 NM 111-115
Scotland 95 76-82 NM 110-116