Urea: A brief price history
Profercy’s latest long term price forecast, The Urea Outlook to 2030, was published in October 2016. While the latest report looks to the future, this article provides an overview of price developments since 1970, as well as the factors that have contributed to the five year price decline across global nitrogen markets.
Urea accounts for over 70% of all nitrogen applied as fertilizer or used industrially. In the past 10 years, World production has grown by 30% with half of this increase taking place in China.
World trade in urea is by far the largest of the downstream products, totalling 50m. tonnes in 2015. This represents an increase of 18m. tonnes over 10 years with China a major factor. Indeed, exports from China were close to 14m. tonnes in 2015 and account for 68% of the World trade increase in the past ten years. During the same period, exports from the Middle East trebled.
Demand for urea has also grown rapidly in the past 10 years. China itself has increased consumption from 36m. tonnes in 2006 to 61m. tonnes in 2015, albeit well below its rate of industry expansion. Indian demand has grown from 23.5m tonnes to 32.5m. tonnes in 2015 without any notable additions to capacity.