ICIS provides independent and unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis for the global Ammonia market. Our network of price reporters, based in Asia, Europe and the US, deliver local insight for each of these markets, which is published in our individual weekly and daily price reports.
If you buy or sell Ammonia or related products, our reports, news and market intelligence will give you the prices and analysis of the factors driving the prices that you need to make confident commercial decisions.
Updated to Q2 2019
The flow of contract cargoes to major importers like China, South Korea, and Taiwan was steady. Few spot sales were concluded, bar some business by Saudi giant Ma’aden for discharge in China and South Korea. When unexpected plant issues hit output, suppliers such as Mitsubishi and Yara exchanged tonnes to cover contract commitments. Prices softened for the majority of the period, but firmed in June amid political tension after incidents in the Strait of Hormuz.
Asia-Pacific buyers’ appetite for spot cargoes was fairly limited as contract volume met most of their needs. South Korea’s Namhae Chemical Corporation bought a 23,400 tonne spot cargo from Ma’aden, as did an unidentified recipient based at Zhanjiang in China. Few spot sales were seen on either coast in India amid downstream plant turnarounds that capped demand. Sanctions against Iran impacted export volumes, with Indian buyers more reliant on Indonesian tonnes than before.
The commissioning and ramp-up of EuroChem’s new 1m tonne/year ammonia plant at Kingisepp in Russia saw yet more seaborne material enter the market. The group will consume most of the new capacity in-house, including at least 300,000 tonnes/year that will head to Antwerp in Belgium. Third parties will also receive volume, with Yara understood to have signed an offtake deal for loading at the Baltic ports of Ventspils and Sillamae.
Turnarounds created an uptick in demand for spot cargoes, with buyers in Turkey particularly active as they secured parcels throughout the quarter. Gemlik was one of the leading importers as the group bought from several suppliers, including OCI and Trammo. Towards the end of the period, Poland’s Grupa Azoty struck deals for cargoes needed at Police, while Bulgaria’s Agropolychim signed a short-term supply deal with Russia’s Togliatti for about 80,000 tonnes for Varna.
Despite weak demand from the US farming sector, no capacity cuts or plant shutdowns were confirmed. Koch may have carried out maintenance at Enid in Oklahoma, but no shutdowns were announced by CF Industries at its Donaldsonville, Louisiana facility, or its Port Neal manufacturing complex in Iowa. CF sold a pair of formula-priced 23,400 tonne spot cargoes to Trammo for discharge under contract at Mejillones in Chile.
Persistent cold and wet weather across key agricultural states severely impacted ammonia demand for the important spring application season as farmers were unable to get into fields very often. Alternative crop nutrients like urea and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) were favoured instead by growers due to the soil conditions. No imported ammonia was heard secured on a spot basis, with US producers instead offloading surplus material to traders, as did some manufacturers based in Trinidad.
We offer the following regional Ammonia analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Ammonia marketplace.
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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).
Ammonia is a colourless, highly water-soluble gas with an intense, pungent, suffocating odour. It is alkaline and caustic, corrosive to copper and galvanised surfaces and is a powerful irritant. It is soluble in chloroform, ether and is easily liquefied under pressure. Liquid ammonia will attack some forms of plastics, rubber, and coatings.
Ammonia’s major use is as a nitrogen source in fertilisers where it is both applied directly and used to produce derivatives including ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium phosphates and ammonium sulphate.
Urea plants are integrated with ammonia production as they require the carbon dioxide by-product from ammonia units.
Ammonia also has a number of industrial end uses. Ammonium nitrate is used to make explosives while the medical grade is decomposed to nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Ammonium bicarbonate has applications in baking powder formulations, in fire extinguishers and as a blowing agent in the manufacture of polymers.
Ammonia is used in the production of hexamethylene diamine (HMDA) for nylon, acrylonitrile (ACN) for fibres and plastics, caprolactam for nylon, isocyanates for polyurethanes, and hydrazine.
Other uses for ammonia include as a refrigerant, a cleaning and bleaching agent, and a household cleaner. It is also used in metal treating operations.
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