The new-season ammonium nitrate (AN) price has opened at about £50/t lower than last year and some £35/t down on the price in early April.
UK-manufactured 34.5% AN is available for June, July and, in some areas, August deliveries at £195-£199/t delivered on the usual 28-day payment terms.
However, with the same price applying for all four months, tonnage for September has been booked up quickly.
October deliveries are offered at £8/t above the June-to-September price, but with few takers.
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One trader said that after an initial rush for September deliveries, the phones were now unnervingly quiet, with farm cashflow pressure clearly showing in the face of desperately thirsty crops.
Another said that with sales slow due to the dry weather, some merchants have been fighting it out by discounting prices on imported nitrogen, with Lithan offered by one source at £180/t spot delivered and even down to £175/t for large orders.
“They are losing money at this price and unsettling the already nervous market,” he said.
Granular urea is priced at £225/t on to farm spot with plenty of availability for September-to-November deliveries at £218-£222/t. A large Indian tender is awaited, which may push up prices, say merchants.