Black Sea ammonia prices climb again on Yara purchase agreement

10 September 2012 13:20  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The recent upward momentum in ammonia prices has continued after producer Yara agreed to purchase 75,000 tonnes from NF Trading at $645/tonne (€503/tonne) free on board (FOB) Yuzhny – a hike of $15/tonne from previous Black Sea business, sources said on Monday.

Amid robust demand and limited availability, the sale will place fresh upward pressure on ammonia prices in the US Gulf, which now seem certain to rise from September’s $705/tonne cost and freight (CFR) Tampa.

It is understood that Norway-based Yara expects to load the 75,000 tonnes on two vessels in early October, although the destinations are unknown. Yara has also just secured 8,000 tonnes of ammonia from Russian producer Sibur at $650/tonne FOB Baltic.

The price level for the smaller cargo – which will load in Ventspils, Latvia, or Sillamae, Estonia, in mid-October – is $5/tonne higher than previous Baltic business.

Ammonia prices have risen sharply in recent weeks due to major plant turnarounds in the Black Sea, natural gas curtailments in Trinidad, production issues at Qafco in Qatar, and a surge in demand, particularly from Asian buyers who have moved quickly to snap up spot cargoes in the Middle East.

Last week, Japan-based Mitsui secured a 23,000-tonne spot cargo from Saudi producer SABIC at $705/tonne FOB for end of September shipment to India or the Far East. Two weeks earlier, Mitsui purchased 23,000 tonnes of spot ammonia from NF Trading at $630/tonne FOB, which was $30/tonne higher than previous business.

Meanwhile, Japan-based Mitsubishi recently agreed to pay Kuwaiti producer PIC $705/tonne FOB for a 23,500-tonne spot cargo for September loading to the Far East, with the most likely destination seen as Korea.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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