Fertilizer Market Report – May 31, 2023

Average Monthly Urea Prices Continue to Slide Year-Over-Year

Average Urea Western Canada Delivered price in May was down 37% year-over-year but still substantially higher than the average long-term May price of C$602/mt from May 2012 through May 2021. I prefer to delete prices from 2022 from this long-term analysis as the prices are a noise anomaly in my view.

Average Urea Western Canada Delivered price

Average Urea Western Canada Delivered price

The same at NOLA with May prices dropping 38% year-over-year but sitting substantially higher than the same long-term average May price of US$309/st.

The same at NOLA with May prices dropping 38% year-over-year but sitting substantially higher than the same long-term average May price of US$309/st.

North America Urea Last Week

According to Green Markets, urea pricing in Western Canada was quoted at C$670-C$730/mt FOB and C$720-C$760/mt DEL, depending on location and time of shipment. The DEL price was down C$5/mt on the high end from the previous week’s quoted price of C$720-C$765.

Prompt urea barges continued to garner a premium at US$400-US$420/st FOB, while cargoes already moving upriver fetched about US$20/st more. May product was called US$360-US$385/st FOB, with first-half June coming at US$340/st FOB. Full-month June was reported as low as US$270-US$275/st FOB, although some players remained skeptical that prices had fallen quite that far.

North America Phosphate Last Week

Tight supply and strong demand pushed MAP prices in Western Canada to a high of C$1,150-C$1,200/mt FOB, depending on location, up from C$1,070-C$1,110/mt FOB earlier in the month.

“MAP prices have continued to run with supply drastically under-positioned before spring,” reported one regional contact. “Rail-DEL prices are more-or-less nonexistent at the moment as everyone needs terminal tons, given the timing.”

We heard of a farmer in Saskatchewan selling MAP back to the local retailer at a premium to his original purchase price.

Sources noted a quiet week on the NOLA DAP and MAP barge markets, with few trades reported to conclude.

NOLA DAP was noted at US$450-US$460/st FOB for tons believed to originate from Saudi Arabia, on par with the market’s week-ago bottom, while domestic producers reported indications at US$500/st FOB, off US$10/st from the prior US$510/st FOB top.

Imported June MAP barges loading from NOLA were counted at US$450-US$460/st FOB on May 24, falling from last week’s US$480/st FOB low, while domestic producers described price indications at US$500/st FOB. With no trades reported at that level, the top of the MAP range continued at the prior US$490/st FOB.

DAP barges loading from NOLA were priced in a wide US$450-US$500/st FOB range for the May 19-25 trading week, tightening from the previously-heard US$450-US$510/st FOB level. Sources noted MAP at US$450-US$490/st FOB, off from US$480-US$490/st FOB at last check.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments – Growing Urea Supply Pressuring Prices Globally


Expectations grew at the annual IFA meeting in Prague that a urea tender will be called soon. Some traders continue to argue the tender call may not come until mid-June, however.

The arguments for a call during the last week of May largely depend on the volatile nature of urea in Indian politics. In an election year, said one source, the government must be seen to ensure a plentiful supply of urea. Even if the regional warehouses are full, sources said the distributors and farmers like to hear of more tons being put into the supply pipeline just in case demand jumps and leaves some areas short of product.

The argument for a mid-June call comes from reports that urea supplies are at record levels. Sources also noted that annual monsoon rains are late. Urea application is not needed until the rains fill the paddies and replenish the water table. Additionally, a few cargoes from the March Indian Potash Ltd. (IPL) tender will arrive by mid-June to ensure a plentiful supply, even if demand jumps.

Reports that most Chinese urea producers were reaching out to traders to handle exports over the next few months has led sources to speculate the next tender will show prices well below the last one. Some predicted that prices could land at US$300/mt CFR.

Middle East

Offers from the Arab Gulf were reported at US$310-US$315/mt FOB, but most producers trying to hold the line at US$320/mt FOB. No new deals were concluded to confirm the prices that traders and suppliers put forward.

Supplies are reportedly building up at producer warehouses, as June demand appeared lackluster to industry observers. Interest from some Latin American buyers to increase their contracted tons lifted producers’ spirits, as sellers were hoping to move out more products.

Arab Gulf producers are not expected to have the same kind of windfall from the upcoming Indian tender as they had in the previous few tenders, as sources reported a growing interest from Chinese producers to sell their product to the global market. There are some who predict Chinese urea could dominate the next Indian tender, returning the Arab Gulf to the role of a supplier of last resort.

The lack of new deals out of Egypt has not stopped discussion. Producers are now reportedly offering granular urea in the US$320s/mt FOB for May and early June shipment, but with no deals concluded. Some producers were even reported considering US$310/mt FOB just to move their tons.

For now, the spot price remains at the last-completed US$366-US$367/mt FOB level, but with the expectations that the price could easily come down at least US$30/mt in a flash.


Urea dropped to US$295-US$305/mt CFR, a level not seen since January 2021. Buyers continue to push for lower prices. Bidding was reported at US$290/mt CFR, but with nothing concluded.


Traders at the IFA meeting in Prague reported that Chinese urea producers were looking to export material in June and July. Sources said they expect a flood of Chinese urea to be available for the upcoming Indian tender.

Offers are now at US$310/mt FOB for prilled and US$320/mt FOB for granular. However, no one could – or would confirm any deals at these levels. What was clear, however, is the current price was at parity for the two grades of urea in the US$320s/mt FOB.

Softer pricing ideas are expected to extend well into June. If the Indian tender price comes in at US$300/mt CFR, as some have predicted, the netback to China would track closer to US$275/mt FOB. For now, however, sources are predicting that early-June prices will land in the US$290s/mt FOB, with more downward pressure to come.

Industry Tidbits