US ammonia imports in February fall 23% in volume terms

08 April 2013 11:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Ammonia imports to the US plunged by nearly a quarter in volume terms in February to 495,743 short tons from 643,232 short tons in the same four-week period of 2012, official data revealed on Monday.

According to statistics compiled by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and released by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the 23% fall in monthly ammonia import volumes was not reflected in value terms due to higher fertilizer prices.

As a result, ammonia worth $286.6m (€220.6m) was delivered to the US in February, up 8% on the $265.8m imported in the same month of last year.

Trinidad and Tobago exported 263,476 short tons of ammonia to the US in February 2013, well down on the 364,901 short tons shipped last year as natural gas curtailments and plant maintenance limited manufacturers’ output rates.

In value terms, the US imported $145.3m of ammonia from the Caribbean island in February compared to $133.8m in the year-ago period, statistics from the Washington DC-based group showed.

Canada remained the second largest exporter of ammonia to the US as 108,769 short tons, valued at $67.9m, moved across the border in February of this year, versus 118,643 short tons, worth $66.5m, in the same month of the year prior

Imports from Russia slumped to 11,026 short tons, valued at $6m, from 65,061 short tons, worth $26.7m, in February 2012. Shipments of Ukrainian ammonia climbed to 30,884 short tons, worth $17.2m, from 22,915 short tons, worth $9.5m, in the year-ago period.

Cargoes from Indonesia and Latvia, each of around 25,770 short tons and worth $16.2m and $14.1m, respectively, also arrived in the US in February, although neither country exported ammonia to US buyers in the comparable period of 2012.

In contrast, no Egyptian or Saudi Arabian ammonia shipments arrived in February 2013, unlike last year when 26,552 short tons, worth $10m, arrived from North Africa and 16,475 short tons, worth $6.5m, from the Middle East.

The only other countries to ship ammonia to the US in February 2013 were Venezuela with 24,188 short tons, worth $16.3m, Colombia with 5,564 short tons, worth $3.1m, and South Korea with 297 short tons, valued at just over $97,000.

Ammonia prices in the key producing regions of Black Sea, US Gulf and Arabian Gulf have been on a downward trend for several months, with the benchmark Yuzhny price recently sliding to $510/tonne FOB (free on board) for April loadings at the Ukrainian port.

That $20-40/tonne fall from March’s price followed a $28/tonne month-on-month slide in the US Gulf price, which key producer and importer Yara settled at $597/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Tampa for April loadings, versus $625/tonne CFR for March loadings.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Richard Ewing
+44 208 652 3214

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