2015 has begun as 2014 ended with global urea markets supported by a further run up in US granular urea prices. US Gulf prices have gained by 11% since mid-October. While barge levels eased back slightly later this week, the current strength in the US has provided support for granular urea producers in the Middle East and China. With seasonal demand in Europe also evident, the top end of Profercy’s price quotes for both Middle East and Egyptian granular urea moved up by over $10pt this week. It is clear though that the bullish tone is temporary, with many in the market acknowledging that global prices are heavily reliant on demand in key Western markets that will not be sustained through the year.
Price gains have not been limited to granular urea. With euro values falling, major European producers moved quickly to increase nitrate prices in Germany and UAN prices in France. Elsewhere, ammonium sulphate prices have firmed. In contrast, Black Sea ammonia prices remain under pressure and have already fallen $150pt since the beginning of November.
On the back of gains for urea, nitrates and ammonium sulphate, the Nitrogen Index has gained 2.43 since the end of December and currently stands at 172.8.
With Brent oil prices falling below $50 per barrel, what are the implications for global urea markets? Profercy’s recent analysis on the relationship between oil and urea prices is available 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.