Urea Prices, markets & analysis
China has emerged as a major producer and exporter of urea in recent years. Access to reliable information about China’s domestic urea market is vital to be able to anticipate how developments can affect your business.
ICIS coverage of the China urea market, gives you a complete supply-and-demand picture for China and insight into its urea exports.
Use ICIS information to:
- Obtain weekly urea price movements in China
- Understand China’s urea domestic and export market situation
- Plan your trades to optimise your margins
- Negotiate urea prices with confidence
Urea China Transcript
ICIS produces a weekly China Urea report which provides accurate and respected assessments on the key China market.
Quotes for FOB export prices as well as domestic spot-market prices are included in the report.
Price assessments are generated after conversations with a wide range of buyers and sellers in the market to ensure a balanced and accurate view.
On the supply side, the report tracks the activities of urea factories , whereas downstream, the report looks at the domestic agricultural sector and a number of related urea markets to get a clear view of demand drivers.
Beside supply and demand, China’s macro-economic policy also influences the market.
The report captures data on export tariffs, domestic policy regarding key feeds in urea production such as electricity, coal and gas, which can also influence pricing. The report is valued by subscribers because it gives a clear window on the market situation in this important market and allows for more effective business planning.
Urea news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Urea coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the China Urea marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Urea
Independent price assessments and market coverage
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Gas
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.
Domestic urea prices slumped in the first quarter of 2014 amid overcapacity and the sluggish coal market, while prices in the overseas market were on an uptrend in the first month, before reversing trend in the rest of the quarter. EXW (ex-works) prices in Shandong dropped from yuan (CNY) 1,580-1,630/tonne to CNY1,450-1,510/tonne during the period, while local EXWH prices fell from CNY1,640-1,650/tonne to CNY1,530-1,540/tonne. Export prices for prilled urea rose from $325-330/tonne FOB (free on board) in early January to $340-345/tonne FOB in early February, and then dropped to $300-307/tonne FOB at the end of the quarter.
Some compound fertilizer plants were shut for maintenance during the Lunar New Year holiday. Demand from the industrial sector was moderate and urea was mainly supplied to downstream compound fertilizer producers from mid-January to mid-February. However, agricultural demand was weak. Export prices during the same period surged to $375/tonne FOB for granular urea and $340-345/tonne FOB for prilled urea, supported by rising overseas prices and strong demand from spring fertilizer application in the US.
Mid-February is the beginning of a traditional fertilizer application period for wheat in the northern part of China. The period lengthened in 2014 as a result of dryness in most parts of China due to rare rains amid a cold weather in some regions. Agricultural demand for fertilizer was strong in Hubei, Hunan and northeast China, where the spring sowing began, while demand in Henan, Shandong and Hebei came to an end from mid-February. Therefore, overall demand from the agricultural sector was moderate.
Downstream compound fertilizer producers resumed nitrogen fertilizer production from mid-to-late March. However, most purchased feedstock urea in line with their requirements, given urea overcapacity and declining urea prices. Their feedstock inventory levels were moderate. Some urea plants were said to have been scheduled for maintenance in April. Domestic urea prices may stop declining if the turnarounds take place as planned. However, prevailing conditions led players to expect prices to continue to drop.
Overseas demand was soft after mid-February, while supply was ample. As a result, the prices went on a downtrend. India-based Minerals and Metals Trading Corp (MMTC) issued a buy tender with no determined quantities on 12 March. The tender was awarded on 19 March, and the volumes were at 1m-1.01m tonnes, with 800,000-850,000 tonnes being Chinese cargoes. The tender was closed at $325-328.65/tonne CFR (cost & freight), equivalent to CNY1,410-1,430/tonne EXW Shandong, CNY100/tonne lower than local EXW prices. This exerted downward pressure on the domestic prices.
Export volumes of Chinese urea increased significantly after the implementation of new export policies of 2014. These cargoes were mainly sold to the US and India. However, this failed to push up the domestic urea prices, which were mainly affected by agricultural and industrial demand, capacity and operating rates.
Updated to Q1 2014
The ICIS weekly China urea report offers timely and in-depth China urea domestic and export market data, including price assessments, trade activities and analysis on China’s current and upcoming export availability.
The information in this report is used by buyers of China urea to support their trade negotiations and by international producers to anticipate where prices are heading.
The report combines ICIS’ international expertise in the global market and local knowledge from the ICIS China fertilizer team, based in Shanghai. It uses the robust ICIS methodology that is recognised by the global market.
What the report covers
- - Domestic supply and product data, including operating rates, the current supply availability in China and upcoming changes
- - China urea price assessments
- - Analysis on domestic price movements and price drivers
- - China’s urea inventory situation, including the inventories at bonded warehouses
- - Analysis of the China domestic urea market and its bearing on export availability and prices
- - Current and upcoming plant shutdowns
- - China’s domestic and export market outlook, with an explanation of driving factors, export availability and prices
ICIS collects pricing data on a wide range of chemical, energy and fertilizer products, including Urea. Our extensive experience in price reporting means we can offer you access to historical data dating back more than 20 years for certain commodities.
Our time series of pricing data enables you to build and model trends, to get a view of where markets might be heading. The data service includes charting functionality, allowing you to chart and download multiple data series for manipulation in your own internal models. You can also export data to Excel via the ICIS dashboard service.
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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.