Black Sea ammonia prices fall to $510/tonne FOB for April loadings

04 April 2013 20:53  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The benchmark Black Sea ammonia price fell for a sixth consecutive month on Thursday after Yara purchased a 28,000-tonne cargo from leading producer NF Trading at $510/tonne (€398/tonne) FOB (free on board) for April loading, down $20-40/tonne on March business.

The lower price level, which was widely expected given the recent $28/tonne month-on-month slide in Tampa ammonia price to $597/tonne CFR (cost and freight) for April loadings, is also likely to have been paid by Koch for a 40,000-tonne cargo from the same producer, although neither side would immediately confirm the price.

While Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara has yet to determine where its cargo will be delivered, US industrial group Koch is scheduled to send its cargo to the US on the Jenny N in mid-April. Koch and NF Trading are also in talks over a 40,000-tonne ammonia cargo that would load in Yuzhny in the second half of April on the Clipper Neptun, again for the US.

The Finland-headquartered producer, which now handles all Odessa Port Plant (OPZ) output following its recent exclusive supply deal with the Ukrainian producer, is also understood to be in talks with Transammonia (Trammo) about a 20,000-tonne spot sale for shipment to Turkey after Trammo won a tender issued by Toros.

Ammonia prices have fallen sharply since the third quarter of 2012, with prices sliding from $650/tonne FOB Yuzhny and $720/tonne CFR Tampa since October. Reduced demand from agricultural and industrial users in southeast Asia, Asia Pacific and the US is the main reason for the downward price trajectory.

In Saudi Arabia this week, an unexpected shutdown at the Ma’aden plant, a short planned shutdown at the SAFCO plant No.4 and an extended turnaround at the SAFCO plant No.2 sparked concerns about a potential tightening of ammonia supply. Ammonia from all three plants is sold by co-owner SABIC.

Buyers, however, contend that the product shortages will be offset by a slowdown in ammonia demand, as several downstream plants in Taiwan, Korea and Thailand are being run at reduced rates because of weak market conditions.

Availability of Arabian Gulf (AG) spot cargoes was heard to be adequate, with at least one cargo changing hands this week. Muntajat, which markets Qatari ammonia produced by Qafco, sold nearly 15,000 tonnes to Japanese trader Marubeni at a price heard close to $530/tonne FOB AG for immediate shipment to Thailand and Japan on the Gaschem Stade.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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