Urea NOLA Still Trying to Find Support – Down Another US$25/st in Last Two Weeks


  • This is the first newsletter of 2023.
    • Urea NOLA looking for a bottom, falling again (since we published last newsletter) to an average US$436/st – lowest since June 2022.
    • Urea Western Canada was firm and up slightly in last two weeks at average C$993/mt.
    • Interesting article about Farmer Confidence: COLUMBIA, Mo. (DTN) — Farmer optimism continues on a slight upswing, while agribusiness owners reveal concerns about the future. The current farmer-focused Agriculture Confidence Index is a slightly optimistic 111.8, up from 105.8 in spring and from 98.5 in December 2021. https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/news/business-inputs/article/2023/01/05/farmer-optimism-increases-show-worry

Monthly Average Urea and MAP Prices – 10-year Historical

Last calendar year was a difficult year for consumers of urea in North America, especially in Western Canada experiencing some of the highest prices in the world. Monthly prices were significantly higher vs same month previous year until November when prices started to settle down. One week into January 2023 indicates that average urea prices this month will likely be lower than January 2022.

Same general situation in MAP in North America in 2022, with one difference. MAP Western Canada was higher every month in 2022 except for December when prices dropped. MAP NOLA was down significantly in November 2022 vs October 2022. MAP Western Canada did not follow.

US Phosphate Demand Expected to Rebound – Argus Media

US phosphate demand is poised to rebound ahead of the spring as buyers re-enter the market to replenish depleted inventories, while lower prices across key macronutrients boost fertilizer affordability for domestic growers. A simultaneously thin import lineup for near-term MAP and DAP shipments could indicate the need for additional supply to meet spring demand, bolstering values into the first quarter of 2023.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

According to Green Markets, last week, urea prices in Eastern Canada a broad range at C$945-C$1,120/mt FOB in early January, depending on location and supplier, with the low end reflecting a significant drop from the C$1,060-C$1,120/mt FOB offers reported one month earlier.

Urea prices in Western Canada over the last two weeks were firm at C$993-C$1045 as reported by Green Markets. However, last Friday, a large Western Canada distributor/retailer drop urea prices by C$65 to C$865/mt.

I see urea Western Canada delivered prices at C$775-C$800/mt. I understand that you need fertilizer on farm by April. And I still believe that there is another price drop as we have been predicting in the last few publications.

Last week, NOLA urea barges started the week at US$455/st FOB, but the firming trend did not continue. Prices began to erode and were put as low as US$416-$420/st FOB by Jan. 5. The previous range was US$450-$455/st FOB.

  • Early this week NOLA prices dipped to as low as $375/st FOB before seeing a slight rebound. The week-ago price was US$416-$455/st FOB. The plunge in NOLA urea also caused terminal prices to drop sharply. Levels at midweek included US$450-US$460/st FOB Catoosa/Inola, Okla., US$455-$460/st FOB St. Louis, Mo., US$480-US$500/st FOB Ohio River terminals, and US$510/st FOB Wilmington, N.C., reflecting a drop of US$40-US$60/st, depending on location.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

Last week, delivered MAP prices were flat week-over-week in Western Canada. Delivered pricing was C$1,155-C$1,160/mt.

Last week, MAP pricing in Eastern Canada slipped to a broad C$1,160-C$1,280/mt FOB for recent offers, down C$20/mt at the low end of the range.

Last week, minimal confirmed business left the MAP ceiling unmoved from the previous US$620/st FOB, while players described a weekly trading floor at US$605/st FOB, above the prior US$595/st FOB. Offers for the week were generally heard in a US$610-US$620/st FOB range.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Indian Potash Ltd. (IPL) issued a tender to buy 600,000 mt of urea on a long-term contract basis. The tender calls for 40,000-60,000 mt to be delivered each month, beginning March 2023, and ending February 2024.

The IPL tender is not the one the industry has been waiting for since early December. Sources said a tender for up to 800,000 mt will still need to be called soon to ensure India has enough urea to start the next application season.


Insightful analysis from Argus Media.

Interesting to note that the ratio between a basket of urea, MAP and MOP (potash) cfr Brazil 🇧🇷 and soybean futures is now pretty much back to 1:1 — signalling much increased affordability for farmers compared to 2022 levels.

The ratio almost nudged 2:1 in week 13 2022, setting its recent peak, when urea was US$995/t cfr, MAP at US$1,300/t and MOP at $1,175/t.

Even a year ago, that is pre-Ukraine conflict, the ratio was hovering around 1.69:1, with the combined basket averaging US$824/t cfr Brazil. The last time the ratio fell below parity was week 23 of 2021.

It’s no surprise then that historically this current 1:1 ratio signals a slightly better-than-average affordability for Brazilian importers.

MAP prices have risen from around US$600-US$610/t cfr at the end of November to around US$650/t cfr today. MOP posted a modest US$5/t gain last week.

But nitrogen has trended lower.

Urea cfr Brazil has been on a continuous downwards slide since mid-September.

Will the improving affordability in Brazil be enough to prompt an overall rally in fertilizer prices? We will keep a watch.

Industry Tidbits

  • Fertilizer Canada supports Transport Canada’s amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations, which will provide greater transparency for rail service and better data to inform government and industry decision-making. Fertilizer Canada provided recommendations throughout the consultation process, and we are pleased to see these amendments finalized.
  • John Deere revealed a new planting technology on Jan. 5 at the Consumer Electronic Show 23 in Las Vegas. The company said ExactShot™ allows farmers to reduce the amount of starter fertilizer needed during planting by more than 60%.
  • BHP Ltd. plans to start recruiting people in 2023 to operate the group’s Jansen potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, 140 km east of Saskatoon, where first production is targeted in calendar 2026.
  • Russia’s output of all types of mineral fertilizers is expected to have fallen to 50.3 million mt in 2022, an 8% year-over-year fall, Russia’s Tass news agency reported, citing the Russian Fertilizers Producers Association (RFPA).
  • The Tampa anhydrous ammonia price for January has been concluded at US$975/mt CFR, down from December’s US$1,030/mt CFR.