20 May 2011 15:13 [Source: ICIS news]
By Rebecca ClarkeLONDON (ICIS)--The mood is likely to be positive at next week’s annual conference of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) in ?xml:namespace>
This move coincides with the market continuing to recover from the financial crisis of 2008, fuelled by strong commodity prices and rising food demand.Prices for most fertilizer products are significantly higher that at last year’s meeting in Paris, France, and the prospect for further price increases will be a likely topic of discussion.
However, there will be a note of caution despite the firm fundamentals, with industry players keen not to see a repeat of the collapse in prices witnessed in the second half of 2008.
Global urea prices are firm heading into the annual IFA conference. Limited supply for June alongside strong demand from traders has pushed Yuzhny and Baltic prices above $400/tonne (€280/tonne) FOB (free on board).
One of the major reasons for the increased prices has been the dramatic rise in the cost of crops. This time last year, corn futures were priced around $3.71/bushel, compared to $7.52/bushel they are currently.
The sentiment in the ammonia market is firm ahead of the conference. In contrast to last year, there has been no seasonal correction in prices, with continued supply issues in
Tight supply and demand fundamentals are supporting global sulphur prices, despite a persisting differential between FOB and CFR markets, and levels are well above figures from a year ago.Abu Dhabi National Oil Co’s (Adnoc) May price, although not yet globally tested, is $95/tonne above the May 2010 price at $240/tonne FOB. In CFR terms, all markets have moved above the $200/tonne mark except for some first-half 2011 contracts held by North African end-users. In
Domestic inventory levels have fallen to 1.61m tonnes, the lowest level since the start of 2011, and down from 1.81m tonnes at the start of Q2. Whether this significant drop, coupled with new sales concluded this week at $245-250/tonne CFR, signals the return of Chinese demand is still uncertain.
Even if Chinese demand remains reduced, demand for sulphur is unlikely to drop significantly because of new demand from increased sulphuric acid capacity and various metal-leaching projects due to come on-line. Such new demand could play a major role in supporting price stability, or even pushing prices higher, for the remainder of 2011.
As is often the case, the phosphates market is quiet ahead of the IFA conference, but the contrast between May 2011 and last year is stark.
Fundamentally, the market is in a much stronger position and prices are at much higher levels. The key reference price for diammonium phosphate (DAP) out of
What is not in dispute is
The global potash market remains firm but thinly traded, as is typical just ahead of the yearly IFA conference. Many traders are hesitant to offload potash inventory until Indian MOP contracts are settled and prices are announced.The negotiation process will be discussed widely during the conference as major exporters are hoping to conclude sales in spite of some Indian officials announcing a “holiday” from MOP imports last month because of high international prices.
Potash demand in Latin America and South America, as well as
Mike Nash, Carl Roache, Freda Gordon and Lauren Williamson also contributed to this story
For more on fertilizers visit ICIS pricing fertilizers http://www.icis.com/staticpages/fertilizerportfolio.htm
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