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Since the last review, international fertilizer spot prices for diammonium phosphate (DAP) and urea have declined, while those for ammonium sulphate (AS), triple superphosphase (TSP) and potash prices remained steady. In particular, DAP prices have been under pressure in the United States due to lower domestic demand caused by delayed planting and low demand for exports. The decline in urea prices could continue reflecting the uncertainty in the import requirements of China and India and the start of re-export of urea from the United States.

In China, domestic fertilizer prices remained stable though demand continues to grow at a rate exceeding 10 percent per annum. Fertilizer imports were 25 per cent higher during last winter compared to a year earlier and domestic fertilizer production increased further to over 30 million tonnes in the first quarter of 1996. Fertilizer exports from Russia are expected to remain strong, with over 80 percent of the production scheduled for export in the continued absence of an effective domestic demand.

Urea prices started to decline at the beginning of 1996 and after stabilizing for two months have fallen again sharply in April. Major buyers such as Pakistan and India intend to arrange for the import of 400 000 tons and 945 000 tons of urea respectively in the second quarter of the year. The placement of firm orders from these buyers are expected to stabilize the market. Ammonia supply, which is an important raw material for the manufacturing for urea, is ample and prices are declining. Exports from the former Soviet Union are strong and in the Middle East ammonia prices fell by U.S.$ 15-20 per ton due to low demand from India. In China, where domestic prices are now well below U.S.$ 200 per ton, some 350 000 tons of urea are scheduled for import in May. Domestic fertilizer distribution problems encountered in Indonesia have temporarily affected the issuance of urea export permits while the urea allocation for the domestic market is likely to be increased by 0.5 million tons. Exports to Viet Nam and Malaysia, however, may be lower during the second quarter of 1996.


Change from
last year 1/
( . . . . . . . . . U.S.$/ton . . . . . . . . . )
( percentage )
eastern Europe 195-201 167-177 192-201 - 12.3
Middle East 210-214 193-197 223-228 - 13.5
Ammonium Sulphate
eastern Europe 69-73 70-73 51-54 + 36.3
U.S. Gulf 65-73 65-72 60-70 + 5.3
western Europe 69-75 69-76 55-62 + 25.0
Diammonium Phosphate
Jordan 244-251 233-239 231-234 + 1.4
North Africa 235-251 214-239 218-221 + 3.3
U.S. Gulf 213-218 200-204 207-211 - 3.7
Triple Superphosphate
North Africa 171-175 172-177 155-162 + 10.1
U.S. Gulf 171-178 167-173 148-153 + 13.4
Muriate of Potash
eastern Europe 78-90 78-90 72-85 + 7.4
Vancouver 117-125 119-125 118-119 + 3.0
western Europe 102-115 103-115 102-115 + 0.7

SOURCE: Compiled from Fertilizer Week, Fertilizer International and Fertilizer Market Bulletin.
1/ From mid-point of given ranges.

The prices for ammonium sulphate, triple superphosphase and muriate of potash were relatively stable in April and remain still mostly higher than a year ago. Major importers during the period were Turkey and Brazil.

Prices for diammonium phosphate (DAP) have also declined in April. The sharp rise in 1995 and throughout early 1996 is due to the growth in imports from China where apparent consumption more than doubled in the period 1993-95. European and U.S. domestic demand is weak, while demand from China and India is absent. Prices may decline further when Pakistan’s import requirements are met. China’s imports represent almost half of the annual exports from the United States, the largest DAP exporter in the world. North African producers have recently lowered prices for sales to the European market because of low demand and increased competition from Russian MAP suppliers. Russia is expected to import rock phosphate in the latter part of 1996 after a ban on imports which lasted a decade.

The price of muriate of potash (MOP) is at a slightly higher level when compared with last year. No major changes are expected in the MOP market as stocks in India are high, over one million tons, and demand from China is uncertain. Demand for MOP is increasing in the United States as weather conditions improve permitting planting, and in Africa from Egypt, Zimbabwe and South Africa for blending purposes.

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