Is the Second Shoe Falling in Western Canada?


  • Urea prices in Western Canada finally dropped.
  • Mosaic curtailed potash production at its Colonsay mine when Eastern Canada is unable to get Spring Potash pricing.
  • Will the Russian export duties impact volume and prices into NOLA which will ultimately impact Western Canada prices?

We have been writing about the likelihood of urea prices in Western Canada not staying above the NOLA index for long. Prior to last week, since September 23, weekly NOLA urea prices declined every week while Western Canada Delivered urea prices fell only three times. This created an unsustainable price spread between the two.

Last Friday, we witnessed a fairly big drop in urea prices. Urea in Western Canada dropped 6% week-over-week while NOLA fell 7.3%. Our favourite chart shows the spread in C$/mt between the two closed slightly.

We believe there is still room for Western Canada urea prices to drop — they should approximately equal NOLA urea prices plus freight to Western Canada. The spread today is C$293/mt. Freight from NOLA to Western Canada is significantly lower than C$293/mt. As we enter the demand season in Q1 2023, we will continue to keep our eyes on whether Western Canada urea prices would fall or Urea NOLA would go up.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

According to Green Markets, last week, new urea offers in Western Canada were reported at C$935-C$1,005/mt FOB and C$965-C$1,010/mt DEL, depending on location and time of shipment, down from mid-November pricing at the C$1,025-C$1,060/mt FOB and C$1,050-C$1,060/mt DEL levels.

A major distributor in Western Canada dropped prices another C$10/mt FOB week on week for December and January. That’s a $20/mt correction in two weeks.

Last week, NOLA urea barge prices dipped to US$451-US$485/st FOB, down from the week-ago US$490-US$520/st FOB.

Early this week reports on NOLA urea showed a rebound in pricing from the week-ago US$451-US$485/st FOB. New trades were being called US$470-US$495/st FOB.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

Last week, delivered MAP prices softened in Western Canada. New delivered pricing was confirmed at C$1,140-C$1,180/mt in the region, down significantly from the prior C$1,270-C$1,280/mt DEL range. The FOB warehouse market was pegged at C$1,165-C$1,200/mt for December-January tons, below the previous C$1,220-C$1,260/mt FOB range.

This week, NOLA DAP and MAP price ideas were mixed in early-week trading, with DAP appearing firm and MAP remaining soft.

This week, there was a hint of stability creeping into the NOLA DAP and MAP markets for the week, with DAP values holding steady while MAP prices slid at the low end of the range.

Domestically produced MAP barges were reported changing hands at the week-ago high of US$640/st FOB, while nearby lows were typically seen in the US$625-US$630/st FOB range. Offers of imported material rumored at US$620/st FOB for December loading went unconfirmed on Dec. 1.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Even as the paperwork from the tender from the public sector National Fertilizer Ltd (NFL) is still being processed, another tender call from India in the first half of December is expected. The most likely company to call the tender is said to be Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd. (RCF).

It makes sense for India to call another tender to ensure enough supplies for the next application season. With a shipping deadline of Dec. 22 from the NFL tender, sources said finding buyers in late December and early January will be difficult, giving the Indian buyer an advantage to bargain for even lower prices.

Sources say complaints of urea shortages at local distributors prompted Indian government officials to go on a procurement spree, and the December tenders could be linked to that.


Urea prices in Brazil have softened to US$530-US$550/mt CFR. The downward pressure is a result of lack of demand in other markets and a lack of liquidity in the Brazil market.

Industry Tidbits

  • The Mosaic Co. announced on Dec. 6 that it has temporarily curtailed production at its Colonsay potash mine in Saskatchewan. With demand returning slower than expected in the second half of 2022, Mosaic said inventory levels are sufficient to meet near-term demand.
  • Junior miner Gensource Potash Corp. announced a proposed best effort, non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of up to C$6 million.
  • Nutrien Ltd. CEO Ken Seitz expects farmers to begin rebuilding their stocks of fertilizers heading into the new year after running down inventories amid supply challenges, he said in an interview with Bloomberg. He said Nutrien is seeing prepaid sales of fertilizer about 15-20% higher than in 2020. He expects farmers who didn’t buy this year and have used all of their stored product to jump into the market and send prices higher again.
  • As planned, Russia will introduce export duties on all types of mineral fertilizers from Jan. 1, 2023, at a rate of 23.5% on products priced above $450/mt, Interfax reported, citing the government resolution published on its legal information website.
  • Tampa ammonia prices for December continued at $1,030/mt CFR, down US$120/mt from November’s US$1,150/mt CFR. A continued downward trend depends on European natural gas prices and whether more ammonia production will return to production.