North Africa urea prices firm on short covering, fresh demand

Source: ICIS News

2018/06/21

LONDON (ICIS)--North African urea prices have been firming daily since the start of the week as fresh demand from various locations has emerged.

Egypt was particularly busy having sold tonnes for July and August shipment.

While the destination of the tonnes was not disclosed, market participants speculated that the material was probably short coverings, top-ups on quarterly contact commitments, as well as fresh demand from Argentina.

In the early part of the week, Alexfert sold 10,000 tonne of granular urea at $272.50/tonne FOB (free on board).

Prices then ticked up every day, with the highest Egyptian sale concluded late on 20 June at $283.50/tonne FOB.

Turkey, a major importer of Egyptian urea, is now fully covered for the rest of the year and buyers there are not interested in taking any spot material at current levels.

Because the North African tonnage for some of the business was for smaller lots of 10,000 tonnes, northwest Europe was suggested as a likely destination.

Egypt urea sales  Supplier Quantity ('000 tonnes) Price ($/tonne FOB) MOPCO 20 226 July MOPCO 15 232 H2 July MOPCO 15 242 H2 July AlexFert 15 245 July AlexFert 10 248 July AlexFert 6 235 July Abu Qir 25 257 H1 July Abu Qir 25* 247 H1 July, prilled Helwan 10 258 July AlexFert 10 272.50 July Abu Qir 25 272.50 July MOPCO 15 273 July MOPCO 15 275 July JULY TOTAL 206 MOPCO 10 280 August Abu Qir 10 282 H1 August Abu Qir 10* 272 H2 August prilled MOPCO 10 283.50 August AUG TOTAL 40

Indeed, Algerian producer Sorfert confirmed the sale of 10,000-15,000 tonnes of granular urea at $295/tonne FOB Bethioua for late July/early August loading for Europe.

Also in Algeria, AOA Edeola/Bahwan was understood to have sold tonnes to Argentina at $281-283/tonne FOB for August shipment, and was now offering $290/tonne FOB.