Ammonia Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS offers trusted and reliable market intelligence for those buying or selling Ammonia or related products in the global Ammonia market.
Our reporters across Asia, Europe and the US keep in touch with local markets, bringing you price assessments, in-depth news and analysis which you can rely on to guide you in your commercial decisions.
ICIS Ammonia Overview Transcript
Ammonia is a raw material for the fertilizer and industrial sectors. Production is through a chemical reaction using natural gas, and as a result, the main production regions are areas that have abundant supplies of natural gas including Russia, Ukraine, North Africa, Middle East, the Caribbean and Indonesia.
The main downstream applications for ammonia are in the fertilizer sector. Ammonia can be applied directly to crops or also used in the production of urea, phosphates, ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulphate.
Ammonia can also be used as a raw material for some chemicals including caprolactam and acrylonitrile.
The main price drivers for ammonia are in the fertilizer sector, seasonal fertilizer demand, fertilizer prices and also crop prices.
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Upstream of Ammonia
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Ammonia: Market overview
The global ammonia industry seems set for a bumpy ride in early 2014 as unusually weak demand in the vast US market creates an oversupply in Europe against a backdrop of controversial export permit legislation that has impacted loadings in North Africa and imminent plant shutdowns in the Arabian Gulf.
One view is February will have a weaker tone but likely could be the low point for 2014 in the US as it appears demand will materialise and prices rebound going into March, primarily based on the large crop acreage that farmers are anticipated to sow.
While ammonia demand from phosphate manufacturers in North Africa remains strong, ammonia production in neighbouring Egypt, Algeria and Libya remains unstable due to a combination of natural gas supply restrictions, red tape and utility supply issues, respectively.
Demand for ammonia in India remains far stronger than other parts of the world and plenty of contractual cargoes will arrive on both coasts during the first quarter, although Muntajat may need to arrange some swaps with suppliers such as SABIC, as Qatar Fertiliser Co (QAFCO) will perform plant turnarounds in January and February.
Further east, Taiwan’s China Petrochemical Development Corp (CPDC) began a scheduled 2-3 week turnaround at its 200,000 tonne/year caprolactam (capro) plant in Xiaogang in early January. In addition, a planned one-month turnaround at Formosa's acrylonitrile (ACN) unit in Mailiao will reduce its ammonia requirements from February.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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ICIS launches Global Ammonia Markets General Methodology Consultation more >>
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Ammonia is a colourless, highly water-soluble gas with an intense, pungent, suffocating odour. It is alkaline and caustic, corrosive to copper and galvanised surfaces and is a powerful irritant. It is soluble in chloroform, ether and is easily liquefied under pressure. Liquid ammonia will attack some forms of plastics, rubber, and coatings.
Ammonia's major use is as a nitrogen source in fertilisers where it is both applied directly and used to produce derivatives including ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium phosphates and ammonium sulphate.
Urea plants are integrated with ammonia production as they require the carbon dioxide by-product from ammonia units.
Ammonia also has a number of industrial end uses. Ammonium nitrate is used to make explosives while the medical grade is decomposed to nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Ammonium bicarbonate has applications in baking powder formulations, in fire extinguishers and as a blowing agent in the manufacture of polymers.
Ammonia is used in the production of hexamethylene diamine (HMDA) for nylon, acrylonitrile (ACN) for fibres and plastics, caprolactam for nylon, isocyanates for polyurethanes, and hydrazine.
Other uses for ammonia include as a refrigerant, a cleaning and bleaching agent, and a household cleaner. It is also used in metal treating operations.
Upstream of Ammonia
Downstream of Ammonia