Pressure across the board on all fertilizer prices – Sit and wait


  • The holiday lull is upon us. Fertilizer trading markets are low volume until after Christmas.
  • Could we see a lower price on the next Indian urea tender? What does that mean for global urea prices?
  • With demand (for potash) returning slower than expected in the second half of 2022, Mosaic said inventory levels are sufficient to meet near-term demand. We understand that Eastern Canada retailers are unable to get a price on potash from Mosaic. Interesting. Maybe we see lower potash prices?
  • Behold…The Mosaic Co. on Dec. 14 announced new LOWER posted prices for potash at US$500/st FOB NOLA barge, US$540/st FOB river terminals, and US$545/st FOB inland warehouses. The company said it would evaluate the response and reassess prices when the order period closes next week. Maybe lower again after Christmas?
  • 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 over US$450/mt, Interfax reported, citing the government resolution published on its legal information website. The duties will remain in place through Dec. 31, 2023. For fertilizers priced up to a maximum of US$450/mt, the rate of duty will be zero.

A comment from Shane Thomas was insightful into US Ag Retailer’s profitability in 2022. This data is from Croplife Magazine Ranking of Top 100 US Ag Retailers.

Fertilizer pricing increases are likely a positive contributor to the increased profitability on the retail front. Notably 77% of retailers said they would be more profitable in 2022 compared to 2021, a 10% increase. Fertilizer prices were continuing to increase (generally) month on month going into the major application season, which typically allows retailers to take advantage of price appreciation from their purchases in the fall or earlier portion of the year.

Fertilizer accounted for 51% of the top 100 US Ag Retailers’ sales, up from 43% of total sales in 2021. The sales increase was largely due to rising prices.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

Urea pricing in Eastern Canada remained at C$1,060-C$1,120/mt FOB in early December, although some sources said there is “lots of speculation” about cheaper tons out of NOLA “affecting our market.”

A major distributor in Western Canada seems to be searching for a urea price that will stimulate demand. It dropped prices another C$5/mt FOB week on week for December and January. That’s a C$25/mt correction in three weeks.

According to Green Markets, last week, NOLA urea barge prices rebounded to US$470-US$495/st FOB, up from the week-ago US$451-US$485/st FOB. Sources attributed the uptick to the lack of seller activity; if you needed a barge, you had to pay up.

Early-week NOLA urea trades were reported in the US$460s/st FOB, DOWN from the week-ago US$470-US$495/st FOB.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

Last week, delivered MAP prices were unchanged in Western Canada. MAP pricing in Eastern Canada remained in a broad range at C$1,180-C$1,280/mt FOB.

NOLA DAP and MAP barge prices on the other hand moved lower for the week, driven by a mix of lower import offers combined with limited seasonal demand. MAP trades were reported down to US$595/st FOB on Dec. 7, below the previous week’s US$625/st FOB bottom and falling below the US$600/st FOB mark for the first time since the week of May 7, 2021. Traders reported MAP pricing around US$620/st FOB prior to the drop. Domestic offers were steady at US$640/st FOB, with no trades reported at that level.

This week, NOLA DAP/MAP price ideas were reported at the lower end of last week’s ranges, which were US$620-US$640/st FOB for DAP and US$595-US$620/st FOB for MAP.

Players attributed the market’s falling values to a combination of price indexing on imported vessels currently inbound to NOLA, the seasonal winter shutdown of the upper Mississippi River, and ongoing low-water conditions on the river.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Expectations of a mid-December urea tender have been pushed back. Sources now speculate the tender will most likely be called closer to the last week of the month. Prices for the next tender are expected to move down from the US$573-US$579/mt CFR secured in the last one, with some sources speculating that the price could settle in the US$540s/mt CFR.

Sources expect the next tender to seek between 700,000 mt and 1 million mt. The urea purchased under the new tender will move Indian reserves back to normal levels for the start of the next application season.


Last week, buyers kept pushing for lower prices – and kept getting their wish. Sources in Brazil reported the latest price at US$510-US$530/mt CFR, while a trader outside Brazil called the steady drop in prices “crazy”, noting that even sanctioned material from Iran should reflect a higher price.

A general lack of buyer interest was said to be the main reason for the price drop. This attitude is showing up in limited imports and sporadic buying inland.

Early this week, Urea prices in Brazil remained weak, slipping to $500-$505/mt CFR from last week’s $510-$535/mt range.

Argus Global Macro Comments

Urea prices were down (except in the US) with production outstripping demand globally. Producers were liquidating December cargoes to reduce length. US prices were us US$20/st at NOLA as wholesalers stepped in to cover year-end demand. The overall outlook is generally weak until the North American spring demand season kicks in.

Industry Tidbits

  • India, a large buyer of fertilizer in the international market, particularly urea, DAP, and potash, is seeking preferential treatment from global suppliers and said it would not tolerate cartelization, according to a report by the Press Trust of India, citing a speech by Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya at a Fertilisers Association of India conference.
  • Low water continued to impact travel on the lower Mississippi River during the week, tightening draft limits on solid cargoes to 8.5 feet for the full length of the waterway. 
  • The European Commission is proposing a ban on new mining investments in Russia, among its proposed further economic measures against the country’s energy and mining sector as part of a ninth package of sanctions. The new sanctions are aimed at further eroding Russia’s economy and its ability to finance its war against Ukraine.