A drop of up to £40/t in UK manufactured nitrogen prices compared with last month’s report is the result of GrowHow holding off price reductions earlier this month as imported ammonium nitrate prices fell, writes fertiliser commentator Roger Chesher.
After a period of bad weather which hindered sales, and further drops in imported AN prices to £300-315/t, the UK manufacturer finally took the decision to trim prices in a number of steps over the last month, and these have steadied at £310-320/t for ammonium nitrate.
The urea price dipped before Christmas but has now firmed a little. However, as this sector of the market has virtually ended for the season, urea prices currently have less impact on those of AN than is usual.
Calum Findlay, fertiliser trader for Gleadell, reports European gas prices at a six-year high with restricted supply, which could have a knock-on negative effect on the availability of imported AN as we go into the spring.
Apart from this, the chances are that we have now seen most of the movement in AN pricing until next season, which means that the market could well close within £5 of where it started last May.
Potash prices are steady and are expected to remain so, whereas phosphate costs have come back. Thus high P compounds such as 0.24.24 have fallen a little in price, but high N compounds in the grass sector stay where they were.
Fertiliser prices – February 2012 (£/t delivered)*
UK 34.5% N 15.15.15 Imported urea 46%N Imported 34.5%N PK 0.24. 24
£310-320 £340-360 blended £355-360 £300-315 £345-355
25.5.5 `20.10.10 Phosphate (TSP) 46%P2O5 Potash (Muriate)60%K2O
£338 complex blend £355 £365 £345-360
*All illustrated prices are based upon 24 tonne loads for cash payment month following. Prices for smaller loads and 50kg bags will vary considerably.