By Mike Stickland
THERE are some good buys to be had at the moment; prices have slipped about £5/ t in the past couple of weeks. Although manufacturers and merchants have all been talking of spot buying rather than substantial orders, trade has been very thin.
Terra has gone out to seek business and has been very aggressive. Prices as low as £93/ t on the farm have been reported for Nitram, but a more general price for UK ammonium nitrate is about £98/ t for full loads. Part loads, of course, are much dearer.
At this time of year the manufacturers would dearly like to push up prices so that they can demonstrate a fall in price to induce new-seasons trade. It is hard to do this in such a weak market.
Importers with stocks of ammonium nitrate are trying hard to clear them, and in some areas there are real bargains at £85/ t or under. But the general trade is between £85 and £90/ t.
The main NK business was done this year at most competitive prices, but the trade that remains is being done in the mid £90s/ t. The blenders are having a thin time, with low demand and low prices. 20-10-10 is being offered at about £106/ t.
Fertiliser prices, May 1998 (£/t) (updated monthly)
Region Domestic AN Imported AN 20-20-10
South East 98-100 85-90 103-107 95-97
South West 97-99 84-90 104-108 93-97
East Anglia 93-100 85-89 105-108 94-97
Midlands 98-100 85-90 105-109 94-98
Wales 99-101 86-91 106-110 94-98
North East 97-100 84-90 104-108 94-97
North West 99-101 85-90 105-110 94-99
Scotland 97-100 85-90 105-110 94-99