Reflecting the rangebound nature of global urea prices, Profercy’s World Nitrogen Index saw little change this week and moved down 0.60 points to 169.60.
There have been no major price changes in the key granular urea import markets – the US and Europe. For the former, barge prices have stabilised in a narrow range having eased in previous weeks. For prilled urea, producers have managed to move prices up modestly in the West, while offers in the East have increased slightly following the latest news from India.
A complication for buyers in Europe is the depreciating value of the euro. This has fallen from $1.24 to below $1.13 since early December. This will be a major concern for importers as they will need to come back to market once current port inventories are drawn down.
India goes to the market early
A major test of prilled urea prices in the East will come next week with India holding a major urea purchasing tender on Tuesday. India imports a total of 8m. tonnes a year of urea and, as highlighted frequently on this blog, provides the biggest market for Chinese prilled urea. The latest tender is unique for two reasons:
- Timing: India normally tenders no earlier than March for April shipment. With urea imports behind for the current season’s application, India is in an unusual position and has had to come to the market early.
- The first test of the new Chinese export tax: Exports from China for this tender will not be subject to a 15% + RMB40 high season export tax following the introduction of a flat export tax rate for the year. The earlier seasonal tax approach employed by Chinese authorities has in previous years deferred Indian demand and led to a build up of inventory at Chinese ports ahead of the low tax season.
The latest news regarding the tender, including a full list of offers and prices, will be published through the Profercy Nitrogen Service next week. To receive the updates, you can register for a free trial here.
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Profercy World Nitrogen Index: Methodology
The Profercy World Nitrogen Index is published every week and is based on price ranges provided by the Profercy Nitrogen Service. This includes prilled and granular urea, UAN, AN, ammonium sulphate and ammonia. A full methodology can be found here.