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NITROGEN MARKET REVIEW

Share | 2016-02-16 15:52:01 From:topfert Comment:0 Look:1964 [ L M S ]

NITROGEN MARKET REVIEW


Urea prices ended the year about 25pc lower than they started. Increased export supply, which will be a major feature of the market in 2016, outweighed any increases in demand and pushed prices down especially in the second half. Average prices for Arabian Gulf granular urea fell to $281/t fob for 2015 from $330/t fob in 2016. Yuzhny average prices were $273/t fob down from $319/t in 2014. This is the fourth successive year of decrease since 2011. And the likelihood is that 2016 will be the fifth. Apart from Yuzhny, which now only accounts for 100-150,000t/month of export supply, prices dropped in all areas during the last reporting week of December and are still declining for January. Activity was limited by the run up to the Christmas and New Year holidays, but the business that has taken place has been at lower prices. The US Gulf market hit a seven-year low at $218/st fob Nola. A 50,000t cargo of Qatari granular urea has been diverted to Turkey because of lack of demand from Latin American markets. This is probably a portent of things to come in 2016, when AG producers will have to find alternative markets for some of their US shipments. Inventories are starting to mount in China. Port inventories are estimated at over 700,000t after allowing for the quantity still to be loaded for India. There is no obvious market for this urea and traders are already short selling against China for January. There is always a chance that this will be overdone, but at present offers in regional tenders in Asia are seeing offers below $230/t fob China. In South Korea, in the annual NACF tender, one company sold prilled urea at a price equating to $220/t cfr. The urea is for delivery in the first half of 2016. 2016 will be a tough year for urea producers, with prices expected to reach levels not seen since 2005-06 and some already questioning whether prices will fall below $200/t fob.

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