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Are Urea Prices Cooling Off?

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Urea

After an impressive runup in the past four months, urea prices appear to be cooling off. Last week saw mixed movements in urea prices. The weekly movements in granular urea prices at the below three locations were broadly flat to negative, while movements for prilled urea were positive during the week. Let’s look at the price movements in more detail.

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Granular urea prices

Last week, NOLA (New Orleans) granular urea prices fell as much as 3.8% week-over-week to $205 per metric ton from $213 per metric ton a week ago. The granular urea prices in the Cornbelt location of the US also followed a similar path with prices falling 1.1% week-over-week to $245 per metric ton from $248 per metric ton.

In contrast to the above two locations, the granular urea prices in the Middle East were broadly flat over the week at $246 per metric ton.

However, urea prices have fared much better year-over-year. The prices for granular urea in the US Cornbelt region were almost 29% higher year-over-year. Similarly, New Orleans prices were also higher by 19% year-over-year. In the Middle East, urea prices were up 28% year-over-year.

The gain in nitrogen prices benefits nitrogen producers (XLB) such as CF Industries (CF), Terra Nitrogen (TNH), PotashCorp (POT), and CVR Partners (UAN).

Prilled urea

Compared to the price movements in granular urea, the prilled urea prices rose by 39 basis points week-over-week to $255 per metric ton from $254 per metric ton. Prilled urea prices were also higher by 36% year-over-year.

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