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

Author: Richard Ewing

2020/06/19

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.

A major turnaround at an Indonesian plant will squeeze supply in southeast Asia for the next few weeks, with only Mitsui entering the spot market in the region for now.

The Japanese trader secured a 23,500 tonne cargo from an unidentified third party for early July loading at the Indonesian port of Bontang.

No spot sales were heard involving Middle East volume, while Indian and Chinese spot buyers appear absent.

West of Suez, Trammo purchased a further 30,000 tonnes of Black Sea spot volume from multiple producers for June loading at the Ukrainian port of Yuzhny.

The trader also loaded a 15,000 tonne capacity vessel in Algeria for Turkey, and sold around 10,000 tonnes into Bulgaria, while Borealis sold a similar volume to Dutch group OCI for prompt loading for the Netherlands.

Across the Atlantic, Yara is poised to discharge a 9,400 tonne Caribbean spot cargo at Aratu in Brazil for Petrobras, but no other business was heard from the Americas.

One of Nutrien’s four 600,000 tonne/year plants in Trinidad has been forced offline for two weeks, with the Canadian major mulling a longer shutdown should market conditions dictate.

In early May, the group took an identically-sized unit at the same coastal site offline for at least 12 weeks due to soft prices, and it has not ruled out entering the spot market if it decides not to restart the most recently stopped unit.

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