The Outlook Ammonia is published monthly and covers the global market. Our reliable and trustworthy report gives detailed news and analysis on key drivers, price forecasts, demand and supply patterns, deals and visual data, as well as any other pertinent factors influencing the market at the time of publication. This information can allow you to make informed business choices by keeping you abreast of price movements that are likely to impact short-term trades and strategies over the next 12 months. These are produced by Integer Research on behalf of ICIS.
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The Outlook Ammonia: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2016
Ammonia prices are expected to firm throughout the second quarter as plant shutdowns in the Arabian Gulf and Indonesia restrict supply, although downstream plant maintenance in Taiwan and Thailand will help offset some of the reduced availability. The benchmark Black Sea price will likely stay in the $270-290/tonne FOB Yuzhny range for the quarter and with Ukrainian producers benefiting from lower natural gas prices, such a range allows them to remain profitable, although whether it tempts OPZ to restart its second ammonia unit remains to be seen.
Arabian Gulf prices climbed around 20% during the first quarter and shutdowns at the SAFCO II unit in Saudi Arabia will strangle SABIC’s spot supply. Similar maintenance is expected at PIC in Bahrain/Kuwait and, possibly, at least one of QAFCO’s six plants in Qatar.
In the US, expectations are for increases in the Tampa CFR price for June and July loadings as demand begins to unfold and farm gate inventories require refilling. The contract price was settled at a rollover of $310/tonne CFR for May loadings.
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The Outlook Ammonia news & analysis
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About The Outlook Ammonia
Ammonia is one of the main sources of nitrogen in fertilisers, as it contains 82% of nitrogen (N), which is essential for the life of plants. Ammonia (NH3) is produced through a chemical reaction (electrolysis). Most of the world’s ammonia production is based on the Haber-Bosch process which was developed by BASF in 1910.
It involves the reaction of hydrogen and nitrogen in the presence of a catalyst under high temperatures and pressures. The hydrogen is usually obtained by the steam reforming of natural gas (methane) but can also be made from the partial oxidation of naphtha and the gasification of coal. The nitrogen is usually obtained by the liquefaction of air.
This reaction requires a large amount of energy and, nowadays, this is provided mainly in the form of natural gas, as it is the most economic, but there are still some ammonia plants, for example in China and Japan, which operate based on naphtha and coal.
Since the 1970s, the production of ammonia, which was born in Europe, has gradually migrated to countries rich in cheap natural gas, such as Russia, Ukraine, Trinidad, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, the Arab Gulf and Indonesia .