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.
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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 Q3 2014
The global urea market is looking for direction at the start of the third quarter of 2014. Supply, particularly of prilled urea, appears plentiful now the Chinese low export tax window has opened and stocks are building at ports, which is expected to exert downward pressure on prices unless large-scale demand can be found.
But price indications out of China remain firm for the time being with producers citing a longer than expected domestic season and industry association calls to maintain higher levels.
At the same time, there is talk that India could return to the market later in July after buying just 300,000 tonnes under a June tender. But indications from India suggest there is no hurry to buy urea given good stocks following heavier than normal purchasing in April-May as well as delayed monsoon rains impacting domestic consumption.
Many market participants are waiting to see clarity on Indian demand and Chinese supply as this is expected to set the tone of the market.
Black Sea and Egyptian urea availability is being impacted by production issues. Ukrainian supply is limited by ongoing geopolitical issues and a lack of resolution between Russia and Ukraine on gas prices. Meanwhile, gas supply issues have shut down Egyptian plants at the start of July.
On the demand side, there are expectations that Brazilian demand will kick in later in the third quarter for the upcoming season.
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.