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 Q1 2019
With no shortage of spot volume either side of the Suez, manufacturers are expected to launch plant turnarounds or cut capacity. Saudi giant SAFCO will perform several such shutdowns over the next few months and Indonesia’s Kaltim V unit will not exit a turnaround until mid-March.
Suppliers have been heard struggling to place cargoes in early 2019. This was illustrated by the favourable price of $330/tonne CFR secured by TFC Taiwan and BASF China for Indonesian volume from Mitsubishi for January discharge.
Disruption to Yuzhny loadings saw some players swap cargoes to cover their requirements for early 2019. Soft demand in the US meant Caribbean volume helped offset some of the loss from the Black Sea. The Baltic contract price fell 10% for January loadings from December, while Yuzhny prices also slumped amid global overcapacity.
Given the strong downward pressure on prices, spot buyers appeared in no rush to secure cargoes for January or February arrival. Little business was seen in the Black Sea, Baltic, or Algeria, with contract cargoes continuing to flow into Antwerp, and Yara moving material between sites in northwest Europe and Scandinavia.
Given the bearish conditions forecast by market participants for January and February, it would be no surprise to see capacity cuts implemented or plant turnarounds launched. CF Industries will shortly export its inaugural cargo from Portland, Oregon. Ammonia producers in the US and Trinidad have yet to outline their production plans and maintenance schedule for 2019.
In Mexico, PEMEX’s import requirements are expected to surge as domestic production is instead consumed by restarted urea units. The $40/tonne slide in the Tampa contract price for January loadings was far steeper than expected, and while the market is bearish both regionally and globally, a repeat for February’s contract settlement is currently considered unlikely.
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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