March Urea Prices Significantly Weaker Year-Over-Year; Expect This Trend to Continue


The continuing difficult year-over-year comparisons on urea prices continued all through March as expected. March 2023 average urea Western Canada delivered prices fell 43% year-over-year and 14% from February 2023. This trend could be seen through calendar 2023, barring a significant supply shock. Earlier this week we saw a September 2023 offer of C$635/mt from a retailer in Southern Saskatchewan versus the actual C$1,121/mt in September 2022.

Urea NOLA experienced the same downward trend with March 2023 falling 62% year-over-year and 4% from February 2023.

Highlights from Profercy Commentary

Urea: Q1 challenges to persist as market approaches difficult mid-year demand lull

  • The first quarter of 2023 proved challenging for urea producers worldwide
  • Few have been able to build order books for more than 15-20 days at a time
  • Supply is no longer a global concern, despite China’s absence
  • In markets approaching peak season demand, buyers have been holding high priced stock or reluctant to take length
  • India’s return to the market was a non-event, doing little to undermine negative sentiment. 
  • India’s return is anticipated in Q2, but the market will be kept guessing regarding timings and volumes targeted.
  • Demand from other eastern markets has been insufficient to keep producers in the Middle East and SE Asia satisfied.
  • With eastern markets sluggish, producers in the region have been increasingly looking west.
  • Increased competition, as well as poor weather, has kept a lid on values in the NOLA market ahead of peak season demand.
  • With peak-seasonal demand in the West due to conclude in the coming months, thoughts are already turning to the often-difficult mid-year period. This typically sees the lowest values in the market for the year.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

Urea prices in Western Canada were flat week-over-week in a range of C$670-C$680 last week, according to Green Markets. Last week, Eastern Canada urea slipped to a broad C$700-C$875/mt FOB range in late March, depending on location and supplier, below the previous low of C$720/mt.

There was little movement in urea Western Canada this week.

Last week NOLA urea barge trades were reported in the US$295-US$312/st FOB range, down from the week-ago $305-$327/st FOB, according to Green Markets. Most March-loaded physical barge trades were quoted at the $310-$312/st FOB level, while April business fell in the $295-$305/st FOB range.

Early this week, NOLA urea firmed to US$320-US$330/st FOB for first-half April offers, up from last week’s US$295-US$312/st FOB range. The US$330/st FOB business was reportedly concluded on April 5, while most early-week trades fell in the US$320-US$328/st FOB range.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

MAP pricing in Western Canada was flat week-over-week in a range of C$1,050-C$1,060/mt last week.

New MAP offers in Eastern Canada were pegged in a broad range at C$995-C$1,280/mt FOB, depending on location and supplier, down C$25/mt at the low end of the range.

NOLA barge phosphate values remained largely flat for most of the week, although firmer pricing was reported toward the end of the March 24-30 trading period.

Players described limited MAP action up to US$575/st FOB, even with the prior-week top.

Players noted MAP barges trading in a $570-$575/st FOB range, above $565-$575/st FOB at last check.

This week, there was no notable moves in NOLA phosphates.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Sources remain firm that no new tender will be called until mid-May at the earliest. They noted that a new tender will not be called until all the tonnage awarded in the most recent tender has vessels nominated. The shipping deadline for the tender is June 1.


Urea prices were flat on limited demand. Sources put the landed price at US$310-US$320/mt CFR. There were reports of sellers trying to jumpstart a price rebound with offers in the US$330s/mt CFR, but with no takers.


With the country still in a strong domestic season, allocating urea for export is out of the question. The going price is $370-$380/mt FOB, said sources, based on strong domestic demand. This price is out of line with the rest of the global urea market.

Sources expect urea prices to remain high and export possibilities to remain limited into April, when the domestic season is projected to wind down.

Middle East

The price in the Arab Gulf remains in the low-US$300s/mt FOB. Producers are said to be busily fulfilling orders from the previous Indian tender, along with some small cargoes for other buyers.

Egyptian urea priced dropped. MOPCO sold two cargoes of 5,000 mt each at US$330-US$335/mt FOB. Sources said both lots are set for early April shipment. The prices reflect a drop of US$45-US$50/mt from March business.

Industry Tidbits

  • Canpotex on April 4 confirmed that it has agreed to a potash supply contract with its long-term customer, Indian Potash Limited (IPL), for potash shipments through Sept. 30, 2023, at US$422/mt CFR. The price is down from the US$590/mt CFR agreement that Canpotex concluded last year with both India and China.
  • Russian fertilizer producer Uralkali on April 5 reported that it has signed a contract with Indian Potash Limited (IPL) for the supply of potash at US$422/mt CFR until Sept. 30, 2023.
  • Farmer remain concerned about supply, prices, and tariffs