Topic Page: Fertilizers – navigating the global downturn

Deepika Thapliyal


The sharp global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse in crude oil prices has wide-ranging implications for the fertilizers industry.

Bookmark this Topic Page to stay up to date at this unprecedented time with expert insight and analysis of the impact these developments are having on fertilizer markets.

Scroll down to see the latest interactive graphics, podcasts and videos.

Credit: Shutterstock


PODCAST: China’s return spells caution for urea market

By Sylvia Traganida 26-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The rally in urea prices is expected to slow as China resumes exports following the end of its domestic season.

The market has been able to ride out the coronavirus slump so far, but a seasonal slowdown in the coming months would be the real test for producers.

ICIS editors Julia Meehan and Deepika Thapliyal discuss how Brazil and India would be the key regions to determine market trend.


Mosaic files petition for US to investigate Morocco, Russia phosphates imports

By Sylvia Traganida 26-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–Mosaic is filing petitions with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission that request the initiation of countervailing duty investigations into imports of phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia, the US-based fertilizer producer said.

Credit: Shutterstock

Contract settlement for July cargoes of ammonia bound for Tampa falls again

By Richard Ewing 22-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–Fertilizer giants Yara and Mosaic on Monday agreed a price of $205/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Tampa for July loadings of ammonia for the phosphates major’s operations in Florida.

The figure represents a $13/tonne fall from the June settlement of $218/tonne CFR and comes amid bearish sentiment west of Suez due to overcapacity and weak demand.

Credit: Shutterstock

INSIGHT: Essential fertilizers ride the coronavirus storm

By Julia Meehan 22-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The domino effect of the coronavirus, as it has spread across the globe, has so far had a limited impact on the fertilizer industry. However, the full effects of the global pandemic are starting to show in some sectors owing to cashflow problems caused by decomposing crops, such as fruit and vegetables.

China, having been the epicentre of the pandemic, is starting to get back to normal and production rates have increased for all fertilizers. The nation is the largest fertilizer consumer in the world, on average consuming close to 50m tonnes/year. It is also a key exporter of urea.

Global ammonia market quiet amid plant shutdowns on both sides of Suez

By Richard Ewing 19-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–Ahead of an acceleration in talks over contract prices for July cargoes, the international ammonia market saw few spot sales and prices remained stable.

Participants appear more bullish than in previous weeks, with the completion of downstream plant turnarounds in South Korea and Taiwan set to boost import demand.

Global sulphur market seeks direction ahead of Q3 settlement

By Erica Sesay 19-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The global sulphur market was largely in wait-and-see mode, as various tenders were being agreed during the week and Q3 negotiations kicked off.

Much of the focus was on the outcome of Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat’s) latest spot tender, which closed this week.

Poor demand drags down phosphates market in most regions

By Sylvia Traganida 12-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The phosphates market seems to be subdued but firm in some regions.

In India, diammonium phosphate (DAP) buyers are on the sidelines due to a spate of recent purchases and ample stocks in the country. The annual monsoon season has started in the south, and it is predicted to be normal this year, which would determine fertilizer import demand for the rest of the year.

International ammonia market muted as focus turns to Q3 business

By Richard Ewing 12-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–Little spot business was confirmed on either side of the Suez, in a relatively quiet week for the international ammonia market.

Prices remain stable for June cargoes, although southeast Asia FOB (free on board) prices increased on a 18,500 tonne spot sale by Indonesian giant Kaltim to Mitsui for late July loading.

INSIGHT: Potash players adapt to new normal

By Andy Hemphill 8-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–Although the global fertilizer industry has endured the hardships and uncertainty thrown up by the unprecedented global pandemic better than most, there is no denying the impact of the coronavirus’ disruptive influence on muriate of potash (MOP) players.

With a global nameplate production capacity greater than 69m tonnes/year, and annual trade of approximately 53m tonnes, potash is one of the most-used stock fertilizers, trusted by agribusinesses worldwide.

Source: Shutterstock

Nigeria’s Indorama closer to starting up 1.3m tonne/year urea line

By Deepika Thapliyal 9-June-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The first of Nigerian producer Dangote Industries Limited’s 1.3m tonne/year granular urea line is undergoing trials and likely to begin exports in first half of 2021, several sources said on Tuesday.

The fertilizer facility is located at Ibeju Lekki in Lagos, and comprises two trains each of urea, both with a daily production capacity of 3,850 tonnes.

In the first phase, only one urea and ammonia line would be commissioned.

Dangote plant office, Source: Dangote website

PODCAST: Ammonia market in relatively good health despite coronavirus chaos

By Sylvia Traganida 8-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The global ammonia market has remained relatively resilient during the coronavirus crisis. As a key building block for nitrogen fertilizers and chemicals such as caprolactam (capro) and acrylonitrile (ACN), ammonia is a vital commodity.

Ahead of the third quarter, Richard Ewing, international ammonia market editor, talks to Sylvia Traganida about the pandemic’s impact on the industry and his outlook for the months to come.

Ammonia prices and sentiment divided along Suez

By Richard Ewing 5-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The international ammonia market is now fractured along geographical lines, with contract and spot prices falling west of Suez but proving more resilient east of Suez.

The latest fall in the monthly Baltic contract prices was widely expected given the clear looseness in the demand/supply balance amid weak industrial and agricultural demand.

Monsoon hits India on time, favourable forecast for season

By Deepika Thapliyal 1-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–The southwest monsoon set over Kerala today, marking the usual start of the June-September season, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) confirmed on Monday.

Last year, the onset of the monsoon was a week later than usual, hitting the coast of Kerala on 8 June 2019.

The IMD said rainfall over the country as a whole for the southwest monsoon season is likely to be ‘normal’ or 96-104% of the long period average (LPA) or 50-year average. It was in line with the IMD’s previous forecast in mid-April.

Oil prices swept up in the risk-on rally

By Richard Price 1-Jun-20 LONDON (ICIS)–Investors have regained faith in riskier asset classes, pushing their money into commodities and stocks – liquidating positions in perceived safe havens.

The MSCI All-Country Global Equity Index (an index of small-to large-cap stocks from 23 developed and 24 emerging markets) is just 12% off pre-coronavirus levels, having collapsed by almost 35% in March.

Global oil markets are also basking in the glow of improved demand sentiment, with Brent up by 75% since April. However, with global daily new coronavirus cases hitting a record 135,000 on 30 May, is this meteoric rise stoked by sound fundamentals, or are investors getting ahead of themselves?

Global Fertilizer Trade Flow Map

ICIS is excited to announce the launch and production of the Global Fertilizer Trade Flow Map in partnership with the International Fertilizer Association (IFA).

The map provides a geographical picture of the trade flows of fertilizer products between the major producing and importing countries in the world, as well as production and consumption data.

The Fertilizer Trade Flow Map provides:

  • The world’s major producing countries of fertilizers and raw materials
  • The main fertilizer consuming countries
  • Trends in prices for ammonia, diammonium phosphate (DAP), muriate of potash (MOP), urea, sulphur, sulphuric acid and natural gas

Click here to download the map for free.


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