Merchants slow to follow tight N market

By Roger Chesher

IT has been a strange week in the fertiliser industry as supplies of nitrogen get tighter, farm interest continues to develop but merchants are slow to join in the game.

Supplies of nitrogen to blenders appear to be extremely tight this week following a major shutdown of Hydro on the continent. A similar major shutdown is planned for Kemira later this spring.

CAN and AN are in short supply, Poland is retaining AN for the home market, Lithuanian AN is in short supply and Russian is not available.

Consequently the price of imported AN has now risen to 82/t on farm with granular urea still not available.

Under these circumstances one would expect domestic AN to be at least 92 on farm whereas in reality it still hovers around 88-90/t.

Merchants, reported one trader, are reluctant to recognise that prices really are starting to move up.

Blenders, on the other hand have been trading PKs at an additional 5.00 /t.

Although farmers are now talking fertiliser, deliveries are still very slow, which is surprising considering the bargain prices currently available.

This could be the fact that merchants have been slow to get going this spring, or could be a feature of the dearth of farm gate credit this season.

Either way, both on the mainland and in Ireland there will be an almighty rush in March and April


Immediate delivery N (SP5)

March delivery N pay April

Imported urea

Imported N deliver December

Blended 20.10.10

Blended 25.5.5

Liquid N, 37kg/100l or 29.6% N/t



Granular/prilled – no market

£82 higher quality



£95/100,000 litres or £76/t


January/February, pay April

Complex 25.5.5


20.10.10/29.5.5 February


17.17.17 February


N/S (High S)

N/S (Low S)

TSP (47% P2O5)

Muriate of Potash (60% K2O)








Imported urea




Complex compounds

Northern Ireland


No market

No market

No market

No market




Urea, imported


Republic of Ireland*

No market

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.

*Prices in the Republic are IR£


Note All illustrated prices are based upon 20 tonne loads for immediate payment. Prices for smaller loads and those with credit terms will vary considerably.

Source: Bridgewater Partnership

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