The ammonia markets are covered by ICIS weekly in the global The Market report as well as regionally in the US and in a combined Europe and Asia report. Our reliable and trustworthy publications provide you with an up-to-date overview of market activity gathered by our locally based reporters. In the US, spot prices are quoted in New Orleans and Tampa, while the Europe and Asia publication gives assessments for northwest Europe, north Africa, Yuzhny, Taiwan, South Korea and India. Our news and analysis give the reader information that allows business decisions to be made with confidence.
The commentary includes demand and supply trends, production news, shipping enquiries, regional activity and any other key factors influencing market prices at the time. There is also a monthly price forecast and analysis global publication, Outlook Ammonia.
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Ammonia: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2017
With the scheduled shutdown of the SAFCO 4 ammonia plant in late September for almost the whole quarter, spot ammonia availability in Saudi Arabia remains extremely limited. Ma'aden maintains its stocks are limited, meaning Trammo and Mitsubishi had to look elsewhere. The former will load 15,000 tonnes from PIC in late October priced at $270/tonne FOB Sitrah/Shuaiba, while at around the same time the Japanese trader will lift 40,000 tonnes from Louisiana after agreeing a deal with CF Industries at $224/tonne FOB Donaldsonville.
Traders and producers noted a strong uptick in demand from spot buyers in India for October and November deliveries, with IFFCO/Kandla even taking the unusual step of securing a Caribbean spot cargo from PCS for mid-October delivery to the west coast. Buyers on both coasts of India have been heard in the market, with LFC Korea also likely to secure a November cargo amid strong demand from the group's downstream customers.
Russian ammonia producers are bullish about their prospects for the final few months of 2017 as a supply squeeze east of Suez increases competition for spot cargoes. URALCHEM was heard targeting above $300/tonne FOB (free on board) Ventspils for late October and November spot business, having agreed a sale at $270/tonne FOB Ventspils with OCI – a deal that pushed the NW Europe price to around $310/tonne CFR (cost & freight).
With limited loading availability in Algeria due to problems at Sorfert, traders are expected to lift cargoes from Egypt and Trinidad to fulfil contractual obligations in Europe and North Africa. Spot demand from Turkey remains strong and Ameropa is expected to conclude business on a regular basis having sent several cargoes to the country during the third quarter.
Without further production disruption the manufactured and delivered volumes are expected to stay consistent.
If harvest yields continue to show an increased trend, despite pricing being under pressure, demand should be on an upward trend fueled by a lower farm gate price and potential for beneficial weather post-harvest.
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Ammonia news & analysis
ICIS launches Global Ammonia Markets General Methodology Consultation more >>
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Ammonia, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
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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