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Urea Prices Were Positive Last Week, Remain a Concern

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Urea

There are several fertilizer types used globally. NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) are the most common. According to the IFA (International Fertilizer Industry Association), nitrogen fertilizer accounted for almost 60% of the global NPK consumption in the 2015–2016 planting season. Under nitrogen fertilizers, urea accounts for more than half of the nitrogen fertilizer by type.

To learn more, read Agricultural Fertilizer Industry: Your Comprehensive Overview.

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Weekly movements

Urea is sold in the granular and prilled variety. In the week ending January 12, granular urea prices were broadly flat to positive week-over-week. Granular urea prices in the Middle East were flat week-over-week at $243 per metric ton. In the US NOLA (New Orleans), granular urea prices rose by 41 basis points week-over-week to $221 per metric ton from $220 per metric ton a week ago. Similarly, the granular urea prices in Egypt rose 1.1% week-over-week to $266 per metric ton from $236 per metric ton the previous week.

Prilled urea prices moved broadly higher in the week ending January 12. In the Yuzhny location in Ukraine, prilled urea prices rose as much as 1.4% week-over-week to $225 per metric ton from $222 per metric ton the previous week.

Yearly movements

While urea prices at each of the above four locations grew week-over-week, they’re still below last year’s levels. Granular urea prices in the Middle East were 4% lower YoY (year-over-year). In NOLA, urea prices fell 2%, while urea prices were 5% lower in Egypt last week. Similarly, prilled urea prices in the Yuzhny location were 6% lower YoY.

Weakness in urea prices continues to weigh on nitrogen producers (XLB) like CF Industries (CF), Nutrien (NTR), Terra Nitrogen (TNH), and CVR Partners (UAN).

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