Topic Page: Fertilizers - navigating the global downturn

Author: 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: Ammonium nitrate in focus following Beirut explosion

By Sylvia Traganida 7-Aug-20 LONDON (ICIS)--The devastating explosion which rocked Beirut, Lebanon, has once again put the focus on ammonium nitrate and the importance of its storage and handling. The industry already has tight rules and regulations in place, but new questions have risen about further regulations.

ICIS editors Julia Meehan and Deepika Thapliyal discuss what lies ahead for this market.

India triggers bull run in urea market

By Deepika Thapliyal 7-Aug-20 LONDON (ICIS) -- The urea market continues its bullish run, with prices up by as much as $20/tonne as unexpected strong demand from India keeps global availability tight.

India surprised the market with its fourth successive tender in two months. Demand is much stronger than expected, with more tenders expected in the next few months in order to meet requirements for kharif and rabi season.

SABIC losses continue into Q2 on prices, volumes, impairments

By Tom Brown 6-Aug-20 LONDON (ICIS)--SABIC reported the second consecutive quarter of year on year net losses as a result of weaker sales prices, volumes, and impairments on certain assets.

Source - SABIC

Chemical blamed for Beirut explosion under scrutiny

FINANCIAL TIMES - As Lebanese authorities blame a stock of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate for the blast that devastated swaths of Beirut, experts have questioned why such an explosive material was stored for so long, so close to the heart of the city of more than 2m people.

Julia Meehan, managing editor for fertilisers at ICIS, a market data agency specialising in petrochemicals and fertilisers, said there were “really strict rules and regulations about handling ammonium nitrate” because of its use for explosives.

She said the first recorded use of the chemical as an explosive was in Germany in 1921, and noted that Turkey banned the sale and distribution of ammonium nitrate four years ago after it was used in a spate of suicide attacks.

“There’s been lots of industry chatter . . . some are quite incredulous that such a potentially hazardous product was stored in the heart of a city,” said Ms Meehan.

Lebanon port area blast kills at least 78, more than 4000 injured

By Nurluqman Suratman 5-Aug-20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)--At least 78 people were killed and more than 4,000 injured following a large blast at a port area in Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday.

Some 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used to make fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without safety measures, Lebanon Prime Minister Hassan Diab said.

India's FACT ditches latest ammonia purchase tender due to high offers

By Richard Ewing 29-Jul-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) on Wednesday scrapped its third ammonia purchase tender in four weeks after another batch of unfavourable offers.

The Indian company had been seeking around 7,500 tonnes of the nitrogen fertilizer for late Q3 delivery to Kochi (Cochin), but offers from three suppliers were all rejected as too high.

India clarifies and says Chinese urea acceptable via traders in tender

By Deepika Thapliyal 28-Jul-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Indian state-run fertilizer importer MMTC Limited has issued a revised addendum to its 30 July urea tender and removed a clause that did not allow traders to offer Chinese urea without registering with the relevant Indian authorities.

Chinese companies still need to register with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) before offering in any tenders in India, according to the revised addendum from MMTC.

MMTC removed a clause that required subcontractors of Chinese product to register with the DPIIT. This will allow non-Chinese traders to offer Chinese urea in the tender, without needing to register with the DPIIT.

Tampa contract for ammonia cargoes rolls over for first time in months

By Richard Ewing 27-Jul-20 LONDON (ICIS)--Fertilizer majors Mosaic and Yara on Friday agreed a rollover in the monthly contract for August loadings of ammonia for Tampa - the first time since early Q2 the key US index did not drop.

The untouched figure of $205/tonne CFR (cost & freight) from July was met with surprise by some industry players who had predicted a fresh fall amid oversupply and bearish sentiment west of Suez.

Source - Yara

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.