Fertilizer Market Report – January 3, 2024

2023 Recap, India Tenders, IFCO Sale, and 2024 Industry Outlook

Fertilizer Market Report 2024/01/03| Happy New Year. Here is to a safe and prosperous 2024.

In the first fertilizer weekly of 2024 we recap 2023 urea and MAP price movements, India tenders for urea, E-Corn-Omics fertilizer outlook, reiterating OCI selling its Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCO) Weaver Iowa Nitrogen Plant to Koch Ag and Energy Solutions, recent North American fertilizer price settlements, and industry tidbits.

Review of 2023

We do not want to get anyone’s dander up by discussing how painful 2022 was with regards to fertilizer prices. The previous calendar year was a much better year. Urea Delivered prices in Western Canada peaked at C$1,339/mt in April 2022. The average monthly price for all of 2022 was C$1,105/mt. January 2023 held an average urea price of C$931 in Western Canada and then dropped to C$582/mt by July 2023. December settled at $671/mt. The average annual pre-COVID Western Canada Delivered Urea price (2012-2019) was C$535/mt. We are almost back to that level.

Do we believe we will break down below that level this spring? We will stick our necks out to predict that urea prices will not break down significantly below C$535/mt in Western Canada before the farmers need to purchase for spring 2024 planting.

We are also highlighting in this Weekly again, the acquisition of IFCO by Koch Ag and Energy Solutions. If approved, the development will only support the argument for Genesis Fertilizers building a urea plant in Saskatchewan.

MAP in Western Canada is a different story. This fertilizer supply worries us. MAP delivered Western Canada peaked at a monthly average price of C$1,279/mt in October 2022. It fell to C$837/mt in July 2023, only to close out December at an average price of C$1,059/mt. Canada is fully reliant on imports of phosphate fertilizers and this is a cause for concern at the ground level.

(Price Source: Green Markets)

News of the Week


India’s National Fertilizers Ltd. (NFL) called a urea tender to close on Jan. 4, 2024, offsetting the lack of demand from Brazil. This was a Christmas gift for urea producers. We will have to wait to determine if it will support global urea prices. We believe that going into the spring 2024 season in Western Canada, producers should be looking to any and all supply and demand news that could impact urea prices up here.

E-Corn-Omics Fertilizer Outlook 2024

In 2023, fertilizer prices saw a decline from record highs set in 2022 post Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Will this trend persist in 2024, or will producers face higher costs? Meanwhile, early trends for the year reveal:

  • China is boosting fertilizer production while curbing exports to stabilize domestic prices.
  • Mosaic anticipates a 12% drop in Brazil’s second corn harvest due to dry weather, affecting urea imports. Brazilian farmers are waiting for better crop prices before completing fertilizer purchases.
  • Despite the Red Sea conflict’s initial days, nitrogen fertilizer supplies have remained steady. However, risks persist for the urea market, given that 50% of global exportable urea originates from the Middle East and North Africa.

OCI to Sell Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCO) to Koch Ag & Energy Solutions

In our view this was huge and vital news. IFCO was commissioned in 2017 and touted as opening competition in the tight US nitrogen market dominated by CF Industries. The four largest nitrogen producers in the US, in descending order of capacity, are CF Industries, Nutrien, Koch and IFCO. This acquisition will propel Koch into second spot in production capacity, vaulting past Nutrien, if it passes US antitrust hurdles. And if it passes, two companies will once again control a majority of the nitrogen capacity in the US.

What does this mean for Nitrogen pricing?

In our view, the Genesis Fertilizer project is bolstered just that much more if this acquisition happens as it supports the requirement for more competition in North America.

North America Urea Last Week

According to Green Markets, urea prices fell slightly in Western Canada to C$635-$650 FOB and C$660-$679/mt delivered.

NOLA urea was US$292-$308/st FOB for December trades, with January business dropping to US$300-$308/st FOB range, according to Green Markets. Those levels were down from the previous week’s US$295-$310/st FOB range for December-January tons. February business was reported at a high of US$312/st FOB during the week. We are seeing some contango in the February prices meaning traders are expecting urea prices to rise going into spring. NOLA urea prices have increased in seven of the last 12 years between February and April.

North America Phosphate Last Week

According to Green Markets, the latest MAP offers in Western Canada were flat WoW in a range of C$1,050-$1,060/mt DEL.

MAP prices in Eastern Canada were up C$55/mt at the low end to a range of C$960-$985/mt.

The NOLA phosphate market was quiet with NOLA MAP prices firming to a range of US$605-$620/st from US$600-$615/st the previous week, according to Green Markets.


Industry Tidbits