By Roger Chesher
THE market continues to be extremely quiet and – as is usual in such circumstances – prices have not changed.
The October “book” remains open at 120 delivered farm for domestic nitrogen but will, we are assured, move to 122 in one weeks time.
Manufacturers are speculating why farmers have ceased ordering.
It could be a matter of farm cash flow, a reluctance to seek credit, the late harvest and appalling drilling conditions, or a belief that somehow prices will fall in spring, perhaps by some change in Europes heart over anti-dumping legislation.
Having painfully restructured to the extent where they will finally be in the black this year, if only by a little, the majors are highly unlikely to relinquish the price structure they have just struggled to achieve.
So if any significant price reductions are to happen this spring they will have to come from imports.
This is only possible if the supply/demand equation swings such that imports are over-supplied.
Otherwise importers will be quite happy to pitch their price at the customary 10.00 differential and make a profit.
There are 60 working days between now and February when top dressing starts and as much as 500,000 imported tonnes of nitrogen could well be required.
Thats over 8000 tonnes or three vessels a day, each one taking three days to discharge.
Even allowing 100 days to the end of March, the figures are enormous.
So, we need to have nine vessels each day in UK ports from now onwards, plus those required for urea, MAP and potash.
Set that against the situation where most Polish production is going for domestic use, Russian material is starting to go likewise, and there is strong demand in USA and Canada.
Throw in the currency situation, and the prospect of cheap imports this spring looks very remote.
New-season nitrogen (SP5) 34.5%
Anticipated spring price nitrogen
Imported urea (if available)
Imported AN (new season)
Blended 20.10.10 and 25.0.16
|Liquid nitrogen, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t|
No market yet
No market yet
October, pay cash
January, pay cash
April, pay cash (forecast)
After-cut NK cash
TSP (47% P2O5)
Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)
IRELAND CAN 24.6.12 0.16.36 Complex compounds
Republic of Ireland*
*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.
*Prices in the Republic are IR
Note All illustrated prices are based on 20-tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.
Source: Bridgewater Partnership