Fertilizer Market Report – May 3, 2023

First things first: We have changed our publishing schedule to provide you, the readers, with more timely information. We will now be sending the report every Wednesday.

Urea prices rose again this week, driven by another surge at Nola 🇺🇸 while other fertilizer markets remain softer

Notice that April urea Western Canada DEL and urea NOLA were down significantly year on year in April as expected. This trend is likely to continue through the year.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

According to Green Markets, urea pricing in Western Canada last week was flat week over week in a range of C$690-C$760/mt.

After starting last week at US$340/st FOB, NOLA barges soared to the US$395-US$405/st FOB range before trading up to US$440-US$450/st FOB later in the week. Sources reported US$450/st as a common price on Thursday.

Good demand and fears of tight supplies were credited with the uptick. Imports of urea were off 28.4% in the July-February fertilizer year-to-date, to 2.61 million st from the year-ago 3.65 million st, while US urea exports firmed 225.1%, to 1.11 million st from the prior-year 341,188 st.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

Last week, the MAP market in Western Canada was flat week-over-week in a range of C$1,080-$1,115/mt. Sources reported firming prices and limited trade volumes in the nearby NOLA barge phosphate markets, although softer sentiment for May loading dragged on MAP.

MAP trading firmed in the nearby loading window, with sales of domestically produced tons quoted at US$625-US$630/st FOB, US$5-US$10/st above last week’s US$620/st FOB.

Prices shot lower for May, however, with a trade confirmed at US$499/st FOB, followed by US$530/st FOB offers. Players described the sub-US$500/st FOB trade as a possible “clearing tool,” employed to minimize a long position ahead of the market’s expected summer slowdown.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Reports are circulating that some traders are still seeking tons to fulfill their awards under the Indian Potash Ltd. (IPL) tender. The shipping deadline for the tender is June 1. Sources still expect to see another tender called in the second half of May, most likely right after the IFA Annual Conference closes on May 24.

Urea imported during January-February stood at 1.4 million mt, according to Trade Data Monitor, off 31% year-over-year from 2.1 million mt.

February imports were noted at 141,000 mt, down significantly from the year-ago 1.1 million mt.


The landed price remained steady at US$340-US$350/mt CFR amid limited trading. Sources said the urea market’s main focus in the Americas has shifted to the rising NOLA market.


The industry remained in a holding position for the week, waiting to see if the rumored easing of export regulations will take place on May 1. Until the announcement is made, sources said that inquiries have slackened.

Any new business will be difficult to conduct in the next week, even if the inspection process is streamlined to allow for more exports. China will be essentially closed during the week of May 1 to celebrate International Labor Day.

The potential price for exported urea has come off, said sources. The weakening domestic market has lowered the price to about US$335-US$340/mt ex-plant, translating to an estimated export price of US$350-US$355/mt FOB. However, even lower prices are said to be under discussion. Reportedly, Fudao is looking at selling tonnage in May at US$335-US$340/mt FOB. The target market seems to be Latin America. No deals have been concluded yet, but the new price should appear in May discussions.

Middle East

The urea market’s slow upward movement has producers expecting better netbacks in the coming weeks. As a result, producers were reportedly unwilling to commit to prices for second-half May shipments.

Industry Tidbits

  • The intense fertilizer price volatility of first-quarter 2022, which included the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, has long abated and has given way to much lower prices in the fertilizer industry for first-quarter 2023.
  • Canadian agribusiness Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. in April announced major upgrades planned for the company’s grain facility in Kincardine, Ont., including a new dryer and wet storage system, a kiosk for the self-weighing of trucks, a probing station, and larger receiving pits.
  • BHP Group Ltd., Melbourne, reported that its Jansen Stage 1 potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, 140 kilometers east of Saskatoon, is now 20% complete, up from 16% complete in January.