Mixed Granular Urea Price Momentum: First Week of July

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:53 a.m. ET

Urea prices

Last week (ended July 7), granular urea price momentum was broadly mixed on a week-over-week basis, while prilled urea prices failed to show any momentum. Urea is the most commonly used nitrogen fertilizer in the world. China is the top user of urea as well as the fertilizer’s top exporter.

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Granular urea

Granular urea prices fell by an average of 19 basis points on a week-over-week basis last week. But when we look at each location individually, we see a different picture. Granular prices in the Middle East fell 1.2% week-over-week to $167 per metric ton from $169 per metric ton one week ago.

Granular urea prices the US Corn Belt region of the US remained unchanged week-over-week at $173 per metric ton. By contrast, granular urea prices in New Orleans rose 63 basis points to $146 per metric ton from $145.

Overall, granular urea prices have remained subdued on a YoY (year-over-year) basis, while prices in the Middle East fell have fallen 7% YoY, and in the Corn Belt, prices have fallen 8%. In New Orleans, prices have fallen 5% YoY.

The weakness in urea prices spells trouble for the nitrogen fertilizer sector (XLB), to which CF Industries (CF), Terra Nitrogen (TNH), PotashCorp (POT), and Agrium (AGU) all belong.

Prilled urea prices

Unlike granular urea prices, prilled urea prices have shown an upward trend in recent weeks. Last week, prilled urea prices rose 1.1% to $188 per metric ton, up from $186 per metric ton one week previously.

Notably, prilled urea prices have had a stronger recovery than granular urea prices over the past year. As of last week, prilled urea prices had risen 3% YoY.

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