Food Outlook 10/96

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International fertilizer prices have weakened somewhat in recent months. The urea fertilizer spot market prices remained relatively stable as supplies from manufacturers in the former USSR are temporarily reduced during the summer when major buyers had not yet entered the market. In China increased domestic fertilizer production contributed to higher stocks in anticipation of next spring planting. Pakistan and India are expected to import substantial quantities of urea from suppliers in the former USSR and the Middle East during the latter part of 1996. Imports by Vietnam remain affected by tight credit controls in place and extensive flooding in the Mekong Delta which have hindered transport of supplies. In Bangladesh, urea requirements for winter planting are expected to be met from domestic supply. In the United States prices of domestic granular urea are below international level and no imports are likely at this stage. Delayed but strong demand in Mexico has led to increase urea and ammonia imports. Revised government policy in Thailand has made complex and compound fertilizer more attractive than urea and as a result demand for this product is expected to be lower.

Diammonium phosphate (DAP) prices showed little change in recent months. Inventories in the US-Gulf are relatively high and this has led to a slight decrease in prices. Exports from this source in the near future are scheduled to Pakistan and India. Exports to China are as yet uncertain, a situation markedly different from last year, as no new import quotas have been issued. Exports of DAP from Unites States to China have been slightly below the level recorded one year ago at 3.1 million tons. In Argentina, where the DAP stocks are high, fertilizer imports have been deferred till port congestion has been eased. DAP exports from Jordan to Ethiopia, India and the Islamic Republic of Iran have sustained prices. Lower freight rates and further declining DAP prices from the United States may affect traditional exports from North Africa to Europe.

Triple superphosphate (TSP) prices have increased fuelled by strong demand from Brazil and a tight supply from the United States and North Africa. In all markets TSP prices are significantly higher than one year ago.

International potash prices have remained stable for many months and are not expected to change much in the near future. The strong demand for potash recorded in 1995 has not continued. Demand in Brazil during the first half of 1996 has been well below the level of 1995 and imports are expected to reach only 85 000 tons during the second half of 1996. Weather conditions during spring planting in the United States adversely affected demand. Demand in China and India is well below the level of 1995.


1996 1995 Change from
last year 1/

August September September

( . . . . . . . . . . . . . U.S.$/ton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ) ( . percentage . )

eastern Europe 184-189 176-180 184-190 - 4.9
Middle East 197-201 191-196 208-215 - 8.5
Ammonium Sulphate

eastern Europe 70-72 71-73 56-59 + 24.8
U.S. Gulf 65-70 65-70 65-73 - 2.2
western Europe 69-75 69-75 65-69 + 7.5
Far East 106-108 106-108 100-105 + 4.4
Diammonium Phosphate

Jordan 226-235 223-232 229-231 - 1.1
North Africa 225-232 229-234 228-231 + 0.7
U.S. Gulf 209-213 200-204 216-220 - 7.3
Triple Superphosphate

North Africa 175-180 178-183 162-165 + 10.5
U.S. Gulf 177-180 178-182 145-149 + 22.4
Muriate of Potash

eastern Europe 75-93 78-93 75-88 + 4.7
Vancouver 117-125 117-125 120-123 - 0.4
western Europe 106-116 108-116 102-115 + 3.2

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

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