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
We offer the following regional Urea analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Urea marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Urea
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Urea
Track historical price data
News & analysis
News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Urea
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Urea: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2015
Urea prices are under pressure from ample supply, slow demand and wider bearish global macroeconomic conditions and this market scenario is likely to remain in place during the fourth quarter. The market is expected to remain weak, although prices now look to be approaching production costs in some origins and this could limit further decreases.
New urea capacity this year has weighed on the market and new plants in North Africa and the Middle East are due to reach full rates in the last three months of the year. New capacity is also due on stream in the US. At the same time, Egyptian production, which has been hampered by gas supply issues through the year, is expected to restart. The fourth quarter is also traditionally a strong period for Chinese exports.
Demand from key markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia is slow following currency devaluations and credit issues. However, major buyer India is expected to return to the market several times with import tenders over the next few months and buying is also due in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
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.
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 Urea, 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.
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.