The Outlook Ammonia Prices, markets & analysis
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The Outlook Ammonia: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2015
The international ammonia market remains well supplied in the second quarter and no major upward price movements are seen on the horizon in the key Black Sea and Middle East Gulf regions.
Strong demand from the US failed to materialise in April and although increased natural gas curtailments in Trinidad and plant turnarounds at Fertial in Algeria will squeeze supply for several weeks, demand from agricultural and industrial users remains soft.
Following a slide in the Gulf price, Indian buyers are targeting sub-$400/tonne CFR for April and May spot business.
In Asia, sentiment is expected to remain mostly soft, with demand from the chemicals sector stagnating and prices for finished fertilizers under pressure. Australia is consuming more of its production domestically, and KPI Indonesia is loading two cargoes a month for new offtake partner Trammo.
In the US, demand for ammonia is finally expected to awaken in April and May. How far that demand will extend past the first run of the season remains unclear and will be a major factor in the price direction during summer and the post-harvest refill period.
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The Outlook Ammonia news & analysis
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Ammonia, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
The Outlook Methodology
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 .