Caution Over India Taking Only 1.1 MMT of Urea vs. the Expected 2MMT

Risk on Urea Pricing is Still to Downside


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has released the “What We Heard” report on fertilizer emissions reduction target and outlines collaborative approach with the sector. The Federal government had set a target to reduce fertilizer-related emissions, which led to consultations with the agri sector to gather feedback on how best to support farmers and producers through voluntary measures moving forward. The feedback process highlighted a need to increase communication and strengthen engagement between government and the agricultural sector emerged through the consultation process.

Interesting commentary from ICIS

On the global scale, urea prices remain under downward pressure as buyers are well stocked, while supply remains ample as many factories are still running at full rates. Buyers are well aware they have nothing to worry about, with so many suppliers offering cargoes, and are in no hurry to step in.

The buying pattern of farmers has changed following the sharp spike in fertilizers during 2022, with many now taking a cautious approach. Sellers say growers prefer to by on a hand-to-month basis, rather than take long-term positions, particularly since price keep falling.

The part of the world where prices are recovering is New Orleans, where barge buying picked up for spring application. This is expected to be a short-term phenomena, as the product is already on the ground in the US and it is too late to ship tonnes.

There is no real support for the market after India awarded its import tender for 1.1m tonnes of urea, which was below expectations of 2m tonnes. Most of the cargoes for India will be supplied from Russia and the Arab Gulf. 

India will be in no hurry to return and will wait to see the forecast for the monsoon season before it tenders again.

Egyptian producers are struggling to place cargoes as the European season is ending. The lowest price a producer would consider was US$370/tonne FOB (free on board), while buyers were pushing below US$360/tonne FOB.

It will be interesting if urea and phosphate market sentiment is impacted in the sharp drop in the value of ammonia this week.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

According to Green Markets, urea pricing in Western Canada last week was quoted as flat week-over-week in a range of C$665-C$730 for the third week in a row.

Early this week however, urea pricing in Western Canada slipped to a low of C$630-C$640/mt FOB and C$670-C$680/mt DEL, down from the last confirmed C$640-C$720/mt FOB and C$665-C$730/mt DEL ranges.

According to Green Markets, NOLA urea barges last week were put in the US$300-US$335/st FOB range, up from the week-ago US$290-US$315/st FOB.

Early this week, NOLA urea was trading at the higher end of last week’s US$300-US$335/st FOB range.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

Last week, MAP Western Canada Delivered pricing was flat for the third week in a row.

This week, MAP pricing in Western Canada was reported at a low of C$1,030-C$1,045/mt FOB, below the previous C$1,080-C$1,100/mt FOB range. Rail-delivered pricing in the region was pegged at C$1,050-C$1,060/mt at midweek, down C$10/mt from last report.

According to Green Markets, players reported neutral-to-firm movement on the NOLA barge phosphate market last week. DAP barges narrowed within their week-ago range, while low-end MAP prices lifted higher.

Most of the week’s action was reportedly concentrated at locations north of NOLA. “It has been dead this week on phosphates unless it is upriver,” said one source. Players reported bidding for upriver DAP barges at a US$615/st FOB NOLA-equivalent.

Sources called price ideas for domestically produced MAP unchanged from the recent US$575/st FOB high, while trading and offers of imported material tracked above the week-ago US$555/st FOB low at US$565/st FOB.

This week, NOLA DAP/MAP prices were in line with week-ago levels.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Sources said that by taking only 1.1 million mt, slightly more than the tonnage it advertised it would buy in the tender documents, Indian Potash Limited (IPL) has left the urea market with plenty of material in search of a home. One trader noted that even if major buyers such as the US and Brazil step in, there would still be a lot of urea left over to leave prices soft. Most of the tons IPL will take are expected to come from the Arab Gulf, with supplemental tons coming from China and smaller suppliers such as Egypt and Indonesia. There were also reports that some tonnage may include third-party material re-exported out of China. 


Last week urea prices remained under pressure due to limited buyer interest. Sources put the landed price at US$315-US$325/mt CFR, reflecting a slow-but-steady slide in prices into Brazil.

Industry Tidbits

  • Manitoba’s first potash mine receives final approval; production could start within four weeks.
  • Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. received a green light to complete its $27 billion acquisition of Kansas City Southern, overcoming opposition from shippers and creating the only rail operator serving the US, Canada, and Mexico.
  • K+S Group has set new intermediate production targets for its ramp-up of its Bethune potash mine in Saskatchewan. “The next focus is 2.6 million mt/y, and we already have finished the design for the next step,” K+S Chairman and CEO Burkhard Lohr told analysts at a company earnings call on March 15. “Then, the next target is 3.2 million mt/y, and as we have previously stated, the final step is 4 million mt/y.”
  • BHP Group Ltd. reported on March 10 that it has awarded three new contracts valued at C$260 million (approximately US$188 million) to firms owned by some members of the First Nations ethnic community in Canada for its Jansen potash project under development in Saskatchewan, MT Newswires