Fertilizer Market Report – September 6, 2023

Urea Prices Jump After New India Tender – September 5

Urea prices quickly strengthened at New Orleans and in Brazil following an unexpected India tender call on Sept. 4. NOLA urea has reportedly firmed to US$423-US$450/st FOB for September trades, up sharply from last week’s US$335-US$360/st FOB, while import prices in Brazil moved to US$450/mt CFR from last week’s US$370-US$375/mt CFR.

India’s Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd. called the new urea tender to close on Sept. 15 with a shipping deadline of Nov. 14. The tender was called before the deadline to ship the last of the 1.7 million mt purchased in the previous IPL tender. The call came following a notice from CNAMPGC that it would limit Chinese urea exports to ensure a plentiful domestic supply

Fertilizer Free Fall: The Gamble of Locking In Prices

The decision of when to lock in input prices is always a gamble, and in 2023, those who opted to wait might feel like they won the lottery. Fertilizer and herbicide prices have been in a bit of a free fall since spring, a dramatic change from the price shock farmers faced in fall 2022.

According to Ohio State University’s Barry Ward, if farmers locked in their input prices prior to spring, they’ll more than likely harvest their most expensive crop ever this fall. If they waited to buy fertilizer until April or May, the 2022 crop holds that record.

Rabo’s Affordability Index tracks the wholesale price of a breadbasket of fertilizers, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). The index compares those prices to current commodity prices. Rabobank’s Sam Taylor says the index shows fertilizer prices went from the least affordable since 2008 in 2022 to this year where prices are the most affordable since 2004.

Fertilizer Free Fall: The Gamble of Locking In Prices | The Scoop (thedailyscoop.com)

North America Urea Last Week – NOLA Up Slightly

Last week, urea prices in Western Canada were reported at C$695-C$720/mt FOB and C$680-C$760/mt DEL in mid-August, all flat WoW.

The NOLA urea market was trending higher, with sources blaming low Mississippi River levels and concerns about a condensed fall shipping window for the bump. Loaded August barges reportedly traded as high as US$370-US$376/st FOB during the week, with September business quoted in the US$340-US$353/st FOB range.

The new NOLA business was up from last week’s US$335-US$360/st FOB range. Reports of deals concluded late last week in the low-US$330s/st went unconfirmed.

Urea prices in the Eastern Cornbelt firmed slightly to US$415-US$450/st FOB in late August, with the high confirmed on a spot basis in the Illinois market. Pricing at Cincinnati, Ohio, was pegged in the US$415-US$425/st FOB range during the week.

Urea pricing was steady at US$410-US$430/st FOB in the Western Cornbelt, with the lower end of the range confirmed at St. Louis, Mo.

North America Phosphate Last Week – Market Largely at a Standstill Last Week

The latest MAP DEL prices in Western Canada were pegged in a range of C$960-C$990, flat WoW.

Traders reported limited business at NOLA. DAP prices fell to US$510-US$525/st FOB from the week-ago US$530-US$540/st FOB, while offers at US$530/st FOB reportedly failed to transact during the week. MAP declined to a flat US$630/st FOB, off from the previous US$630-US$640/st FOB.

DAP was unchanged at US$585-US$595/st FOB in the Eastern Cornbelt, with the low confirmed at Cincinnati. MAP remained at US$685-US$700/st FOB in the region, with the low again reported at Cincinnati. The Ottawa, Ill., MAP market was quoted firmly at the US$690/st FOB level in late August.

DAP pricing in the Western Cornbelt moved to US$575-US$590/st FOB during the week, with the low confirmed at St. Louis. MAP remained at US$675-US$700/st FOB in the region, with the low at St. Louis and the high reported in Iowa.

Green Markets Global Macro Comments – Still Waiting on Vessel Lineup for Indian Tender


Sources reported no new information regarding vessel nominations related to the Indian Potash Ltd. (IPL) tender. New bookings will most likely come after the 12 ships already identified begin their loading processes, sources said.

Initial concerns have apparently dissipated that the loading of 1.1 million mt of China-sourced award tonnage might not meet the Sept. 26 shipping deadline. Favorable weather conditions at Chinese ports could allow for more rapid loading operations than previously expected, players said.

Middle East

Producers remained quiet this week as they worked to fulfil long-term contracts and orders related to the IPL/India tender. The lack of any new spot sales leaves the price in the low-US$380s/mt FOB, as set by the IPL tender.

Egyptian producers have likewise gone silent, apparently content to process shipments of product secured before the urea market began to soften. The market’s last spot deal was concluded in July at US$467/mt FOB.


Import pricing slipped to US$340-US$355/mt CFR, off from last week’s US$370-US$375/mt CFR. The market remains largely inactive with only limited trading volumes observed. While negotiations were reported at the lower end of the range, delayed purchasing from farmers could push the import season back by a few months, sources said.


Sources reported the netback from a small sale of prilled urea to Taiwan in the low-US$350s/mt FOB. The purchase, by TFC, appears to be the only new spot sale out of the area, with most Chinese traders and producers focused on fulfilling orders received under the IPL/India tender. Sources said the lack of business outside of the Indian tender is pushing down pricing expectations.

Of the 800,000 mt of urea currently at the ports, about 500,000 mt still requires export approval. Inspectors are reportedly moving quickly. The remaining tonnage for the Indian orders is expected to arrive at the ports just as the current product is loaded and gone.

Sources said they have not heard of any new vessel nominations to take Chinese urea to India. However, as soon as the first wave of nominated ships begins loading, said one trader, new nominations are likely to come quickly.

Industry Tidbits