The outbreak of the war in Ukraine sent fertilizer prices soaring to all-time highs as prices for natural gas, a key feedstock for nitrogenous fertilizer production, drove production cutbacks and sanctions and export restrictions disrupted exports. These drivers of market turmoil intensified fears of reduced global food production and higher food prices. While global supply continues to rebound and prices abate, risks linger and monitoring market developments remains key.
The Fertilizer Market Dashboard provides you several ways to monitor the latest developments in fertilizer markets, including a summary of market developments and tools for tracking fertilizer trade, utilization, and production.
Fertilizer Market Developments
Monthly assessments of fertilizer market developments were prepared for the AMIS Market Monitor. You can find a summary of all months on the "Market Overview" tab of the Fertilizer Market Dashboard above.
Overview of market developments in January 2024
Support for nitrogen prices returned, while phosphate prices remain mostly unchanged and potash prices show signs of weakness. Despite sliding crop prices, fertilizer market par- ticipants bet on solid demand for the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere amid relatively stable or declining fertil- izer prices. The main potential concern ahead is logistics stem- ming from low water levels in the Panama Canal and shipping disruptions in the Red Sea, or the eventual impact of tensions in the Near East on energy costs should the conflict intensify.
Fertilizer input prices
While natural gas increased on US price benchmarks, European references maintained their downward trend since autumn due to ample inventories and low demand. Ammonia prices were down substantially in Jan- uary compared to November. Lower natural gas prices in Eu- rope could incentivize plants to increase production, pressur- ing ammonia prices even lower - though sluggish demand may dampen such a supply response.
Nitrogen fertilizer prices
Nitrogen prices have firmed. The 4 January Indian tender may have given some support for firming export quotes, but the somewhat limited volumes se- cured were not sufficient to substantially tighten overall well- supplied global nitrogen markets. The export restrictions in place since November in China limiting exports through the first quarter did not send prices up substantially, suggesting global supplies are indeed sufficient. Overall, demand is yet to fully materialize after recent dry conditions in Brazil and wet conditions in Europe limited the incentive to apply fertilizers.
Phosphorus fertilizer prices
Global phosphate fertilizer prices remain supported by current Chinese export limitations given its importance as a major exporter of DAP/MAP. Phos- phates’ prices are currently high relative to other nutrients and could remain so until Chinese exports return to global markets, as some producers in other countries lack sufficient availability. The evolution of Indian demand will depend on the level of the nutrient subsidies put in place by the Government of India for the Rabi season.
Supply of potash fertilizers continues to out- weigh demand. The spring demand in the US could provide some support to the overall market, particularly if buyers in Brazil start stepping up purchases concurrently. Demand in major importer Brazil is sluggish and inventories there remain at high levels.
Fertilizer market analysis by IFPRI & FSP
Here you can find a selection of IFPRI and FSP analysis on fertilizer markets.