Speculation has been rife this week as the impact of Hurricane Katrina undergoes evaluation to determine its effect on the global fertiliser market.
Most are aware of the immediate effect upon energy prices, oil in particular, with a consequent movement in forward pricing for gas.
Fortunately, these prices have come back a little and, with the UK ammonia manufacturers already taking steps to insulate themselves from gas prices at their peak, there has been no immediate effect on fertiliser nitrogen.
Unfortunately, structural damage to phosphate producers on the Gulf of Mexico has altered the supply/demand balance.
The fact that they have been forced out of production and are no longer consuming ammonia has done little to hold back the price of that commodity.
Other phosphate producers have raised prices, being hit by higher costs for ammonia, which is required to convert phosphoric acid into ammonium phosphate.
This combined with a shortage of Mississippi phosphate has led to price hikes in MAP and DAP, though these have not yet hit the UK market.
However, the fact that urea cannot currently be delivered into America has led to a short-term downward blip in prices, to our advantage. Russian AN is also competitive.
Unfortunately for them, Midwestern American farmers are reported to have suffered $2bn grain losses on the Mississippi.
This could have a significant positive effect on grain prices closer to home and in turn on the affordability of fertiliser.
In terms of change to prices this week, the impact has been nil but DAPS and MAP prices will soon be on the up.
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.