Fertilizer prices have risen sharply in recent months as a result of an increase in global demand, particularly in the United States, China and India. A greater degree of control exercised by Ukrainian ammonia producers along with implementation of a revised pricing policy for feedstock by the Russian gas supplier has reinforced the upward trend for nitrogen based fertilizers. In particular, urea prices are rising rapidly and are expected to continue to increase in the short term. Urea prices are currently around $ 50/ton higher than one year ago. Demand remains strong in China and India. In the first half of 1995, over 3 million tons of urea were imported into China, primarily from Russia and the Ukraine. If India is to meet its import targets, substantive additional imports will be required for the next three months and demand is expected to remain strong with the good rainfall across northern India. Also, additional demand from Pakistan is expected in the coming months to meet a 100 000 tons shortfall.

In the United States, diammonium phosphate (DAP) prices have been rising again since May-June as a result of increased demand and higher ammonia prices and are now as high as in early 1995. Production in the Near East is committed for supply to India, Taiwan (Province of China) and Jordan. In China, domestic DAP prices show an upward trend and stock position is probably low. The price ex-North Africa increased by 10 per cent since June. In all markets DAP prices are significantly higher than one year ago.

Brazil has been active in the potash market and supplies were obtained from Canada and Europe. In all markets muriate of potash (MOP) prices have remained stable though at a level 15-20 per cent above the level recorded one year ago.

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