Urea Prices, markets & analysis
If you buy or sell Urea or related products, you need up-to-date global pricing data and the background information to help you understand it.
Our network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US enables us to deliver this. We publish their insights in our comprehensive daily and weekly price reports, plus we offer the news and analysis you need to put pricing information into context.
ICIS Urea overview
Urea is a key nitrogen fertilizer and a truly global product. Its price is extremely volatile and the product is highly traded and can see dramatic price swings on a regular basis, because of this, the accurate prices provided by ICIS are key to the market.
The key feedstock is natural gas via ammonia. Urea also has important relationships with crop prices such as wheat and corn.
Urea can also be used in the industrial sector to make UF resins, to make melamine; to make adhesives and paints. And for laminates, moulding compounds, paper and textiles.
Urea occurs as white crystals which absorb water. These are either odourless or have a slight smell of ammonia. Urea is not considered to be harmful at normal temperature, but the dust may irritate the skin, eyes and nose.
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Urea news and market information products from ICIS
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News & analysis
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Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Urea: Market overview
Sentiment is weak as the global urea market starts the second quarter of 2014 and prices are under pressure. Demand in the northern hemisphere is coming to an end for spring application. The US market remains short of physical product, but it is now too late for any new cargoes to arrive in time for application and buying for refill has yet to start.
At the same time, Latin American buyers appear to be in no hurry to buy and India is not expected back to the market until late May/June after purchasing over 1m tonnes of mainly Chinese urea for April shipment.
Although there are some maintenance turnarounds taking place in the Middle East during April and gas issues and domestic commitments impacting Egyptian export availability, supply is looking plenty for the time being given the slower demand. The granular supply picture could lengthen if export permits become easier to obtain in Algeria in the coming months.
Russian natural gas prices to Ukraine have been hiked from 1 April, thereby raising production costs for nitrogen producers. OPZ has already cut back production as a result. There is talk that further cutbacks in Ukrainian output could be seen especially given the current weakness in the urea market, which would tighten supply from the region and help support prices there.
Updated to mid-April 2014
News & analysis
Urea news & analysis
ICIS launches Global Urea Markets General Methodology Consultation more >>
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.
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Urea occurs as white hygroscopic crystals, which are either odourless or have a slight smell of ammonia. Urea is not considered to be harmful at normal temperature, but the dust may irritate the skin, eyes and nose.
The major outlet for urea, accounting for nearly 90% of total consumption, is as a fertilizer. Urea is also used in the manufacture of urea-formaldehyde resins, the synthesis of melamine, in adhesives and paints, and for laminates, moulding compounds, impregnating paper and textiles.
Urea is widely traded on international fertilizer markets. There are two main hubs in urea trade – the Black Sea and Arab Gulf. These flows are said to determine the global urea prices.
Urea production involves a two step process where the ammonia and carbon dioxide react to form ammonium carbamate which is then dehydrated to urea. In the process, ammonia and carbon dioxide are fed to the synthesis reactor which operates around 180-210oC and 150 bar pressure.