The Outlook Ammonia is published monthly and covers the global market. Our reliable and trustworthy report gives detailed news and analysis on key drivers, price forecasts, demand and supply patterns, deals and visual data, as well as any other pertinent factors influencing the market at the time of publication. This information can allow you to make informed business choices by keeping you abreast of price movements that are likely to impact short-term trades and strategies over the next 12 months. These are produced by Integer Research on behalf of ICIS.
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The Outlook Ammonia: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2017
Ammonia prices for the second quarter are likely to continue the trend of a geographic split seen in the previous quarter, with buyers in India and Asia Pacific facing higher prices than their counterparts west of Suez. The return to normal export volumes from the Black Sea after months of disruption means prices softened to $300-320/tonne FOB Yuzhny at the start of the current quarter.
In contrast, offers under FACT India’s tender for a mid-April spot cargo were in the $460-480/tonne CFR range, with producers in the Arabian Gulf asking $400-410/tonne FOB for second-quarter spot business as demand from India starts to spike after a series of plant turnarounds.
Scheduled plant turnarounds in Qatar and Saudi Arabia during April will reduce short-term spot availability and provide support to firmer prices in Korea and Taiwan – markets that were cushioned from major upward movement in the first quarter as they are now more reliant on Caribbean material from Koch.
The Tampa price for May cargoes is likely to increase again as the April lift of $10/tonne to $340/tonne CFR was less than expected by many market players.
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The Outlook Ammonia news & analysis
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The Outlook Methodology
About The Outlook Ammonia
Ammonia is one of the main sources of nitrogen in fertilisers, as it contains 82% of nitrogen (N), which is essential for the life of plants. Ammonia (NH3) is produced through a chemical reaction (electrolysis). Most of the world’s ammonia production is based on the Haber-Bosch process which was developed by BASF in 1910.
It involves the reaction of hydrogen and nitrogen in the presence of a catalyst under high temperatures and pressures. The hydrogen is usually obtained by the steam reforming of natural gas (methane) but can also be made from the partial oxidation of naphtha and the gasification of coal. The nitrogen is usually obtained by the liquefaction of air.
This reaction requires a large amount of energy and, nowadays, this is provided mainly in the form of natural gas, as it is the most economic, but there are still some ammonia plants, for example in China and Japan, which operate based on naphtha and coal.
Since the 1970s, the production of ammonia, which was born in Europe, has gradually migrated to countries rich in cheap natural gas, such as Russia, Ukraine, Trinidad, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, the Arab Gulf and Indonesia .