Commentators have flagged up significant easing of energy prices in the USA, to the relief of consumers there.
Whilst the pressure is also slightly eased over here, cold temperatures and, especially, the lack of gas storage capacity have ensured that fertiliser production costs will remain high in the UK throughout the winter.
The January price for domestic ammonium nitrate still stands at more than £170/t but speculation is growing that, if demand is lacking, it will not stick.
Although movement has increased a little, the anticipated domestic demand is still not fully realised.
This is affecting both UK and overseas producers as imports continue to pile up on the quaysides in fulfillment of existing merchant and importers’ contracts.
If the next two months continue to be quiet, storage will become extremely congested.
With only arable “top up” and a highly unpredictable grass market yet to come there is the potential for importers to be caught out this season with excess stock.
However, farmers waiting until the last minute to grab a bargain should remember that virtually every player has interests in more than one market these days and excess product can be shipped to the more lucrative markets such as France.
Much then rests on the unknown grassland market and the willingness, or indeed ability, of hard pressed livestock farmers to purchase NPK at current prices this season.
CURRENT PRICES (£/t)
Domestic N (34.5%N) SP5
Imported AN (Russian)
Muriate of Potash(60%K2O)
20.10.10 / 27.5.5
|Autumn grades (PK)|
|Copper, zinc, selenium,|
cobalt Iodine and sodium
Straight and compound
Republic of Ireland†
|No market||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.
*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.