Ammonium prices have been stable in recent months but low demand and ample supplies are expected to result in weakening prices. Weak urea prices will encourage producers to reduce urea production and enhance ammonium output. Currently there is ample product on offer and producers in the Middle East have reduced ammonium prices to meet competition from Asian suppliers. The countries of the former U.S.S.R. have scaled down ammonium production. New ammonium capacity will become operational over the next few years, with most of the output supplying the associated urea plants. The majority of new stand-alone ammonium capacity is under construction in North America. Output will be mostly used in the United States, where farmers apply ammonia in solution directly to crops.
Phosphate fertilizer prices on the international spot market have remained relatively stable, with latest quotations between 2 and 10 percent lower compared to last year. The DAP
export market in the United States has continued to soften but prices might not decline further, reflecting an active domestic market, while export demand from the U.S. Gulf is low. Ethiopia and Bangladesh are expected to import DAP from this origin, while China is reportedly exploring for imports in October and November. DAP import demand is rather thin and increased competition among United States, Mexican, CIS and North African suppliers may weaken prices in the short term. India is not likely to arrange major DAP imports until spring 1998. For TSP, imports from North Africa have met demand from the U.S. Gulf and the Near East.
International prices of potash have increased marginally compared to the previous year. Demand in the Asian market is at present rather depressed.
AVERAGE FERTILIZER SPOT PRICES (bulk, f.o.b.)
|August||September||September||last year 1/|
|( . . . . . . . . . . . U.S.$/ton . . . . . . . . . . . )||( percentage )|
|eastern Europe||103-105||90-94||176-180||- 48.3|
|Near East||121-128||97-108||191-196||- 47.0|
|eastern Europe||45-49||33-44||71-73||- 46.5|
|U.S. Gulf||85-90||80-85||65-70||+ 22.2|
|western Europe||80-82||80-82||69-75||+ 12.5|
|Far East||95-97||93-93||106-108||- 13.1|
|North Africa||202-213||201-215||229-234||- 10.2|
|U.S. Gulf||193-194||197-199||200-204||- 2.0|
|North Africa||160-165||160-165||178-183||- 10.0|
|U.S. Gulf||161-164||161-164||178-182||- 9.7|
|Muriate of Potash|
|eastern Europe||82-95||83-96||78-93||+ 4.7|
|western Europe||112-117||112-117||108-116||+ 2.2|
SOURCE: Compiled from Fertilizer Week and Fertilizer
1/ From mid-point of given ranges.
Potash stocks in China are low and domestic prices are
tending to rise, while China’s potash re-export market has suffered from
the weakening of currencies in other countries in the region. By contrast,
demand for potash in the Latin America market is becoming stronger and
prices have increased somewhat recently. Bad weather and heavy domestic
demand caused delay in the shipment of CIS potash for export. In the United
States potash fertilizer supply is short due to technical production problems
in Canada. Potash fertilizer prices in the United States may increase if
planned arrival of imports from CIS and the U.S. Gulf lag behind schedule.