Fertilizer Market Report – May 24, 2023

Fertilizer M&A Deals Spring to Life

The fertilizer industry has experienced a surge in deal flow and merger & acquisition (M&A) activity in recent times, marking a significant shift from a period of limited transactions. This renewed momentum can be attributed to improved cashflow and a positive long-term outlook for the industry, according to an insightful analysis by CRU Group.

Fertilizer earnings soared in 2022

Last year, fertilizer prices skyrocketed to levels not seen in decades. A combination of factors, including surging natural gas prices, geopolitical tensions arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sanctions on Belarus, and robust agricultural commodity prices, all played a role in driving up returns for fertilizer producers. Amidst these favorable market conditions, publicly traded fertilizer companies demonstrated disciplined financial management by effectively managing their increased cash and capital flows. Share buybacks were carried out throughout the year as part of their strategic approach. The annual reports of major fertilizer companies revealed robust free cash flow by the end of 2022, setting the stage for potential utilization of these funds for merger and acquisition activities in 2023.

North America Urea Last Two Weeks

According to Green Markets, delivered urea pricing in Western Canada last week was flat week-over-week in a range of C$720-C$765 for the third week in a row.

Prompt urea barges started the week as high as US$465-US$475/st FOB. By midweek, they were called US$405-US$420/st FOB. Second-half May became US$350-US$365/st FOB, while first-half June fell to US$320/st FOB. There were reports of all-June below US$300/st FOB.

North America Phosphate Last Two Weeks

MAP market in Western Canada was flat week-over-week in a range of C$1,115-C$1,150 for the third week in a row.

Following a quiet start to the week at NOLA, sources reported falling barge prices on May 17-18.

Full-May DAP pricing was noted on par with week-ago levels early in the May 12-18 trading period, with sources calling barges in a US$500-US$510/st FOB range through May 17. Players reported business transacting at US$450/st FOB on May 18, however, US$50/st below the week-ago US$500/st FOB floor. Unlike in the previous week, players reported no prompt or loaded barges trading at a premium to full-May loading.

MAP barges reported at US$490/st FOB through midweek were seen slipping to US$482.50/st FOB on May 17. From there, public offers quickly softened to US$480/st FOB, sources said, off from the week-ago US$485/st FOB low.

NOLA DAP barge pricing softened to a wide US$450-US$510/st FOB level during the week, down from US$500-US$630/st FOB reported previously. MAP barges were reported at US$480-US$490/st FOB, below US$485-US$500/st FOB at last check.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments


Sources are still expecting to hear of a new tender call at the end of the month. The Department of Fertilizers issued a letter to the three authorized urea importers – National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd (RCF) and Indian Potash Ltd (IPL) – setting the time frame for the next tender. The memo did not specify a date to call the tender, however, some are now thinking its release could mean a tender call could come during the IFA conference in Prague.

Some traders are still scrounging for material to satisfy their awards from the March IPL tender, sources said. Most of the material appears to be coming from the Arab Gulf.

The Indian government announced the approval of urea subsidies for the current season. All told, the government will set aside US$8.46 million to cover subsidies for urea purchases. The subsidies are needed to cover the difference between the imported price of the urea, currently reported at US$330-US$335/mt CFR, and the maximum price charged to farmers, which is US$74.13/mt.


Reports of large inventories throughout Brazil continued to pressure the price of urea coming into the country. Sources said the market has tightened to US$315-US$325/mt CFR. Besides the large supply of material, low-priced offers of Iranian urea have created additional pressure, players noted.


China’s domestic urea market is ending. Sources noted that even as local demand is coming off, production remains steady at approximately 165,000 mt/d. The buildup of reserves is affecting the ex-plant prices, though this softening has not been reflected in the export price.

As more tons are being made available for export, sources also said the time to clear tons for sale offshore is coming down. The apparent increase in urea availability has caused the price of prilled urea to edge higher.

Industry Tidbits