I found this article published earlier this week in the Weekly Fertilizer Review; it brilliantly displays many of the business aspects and trends over the recent decade.
Adequate supplies appear to be slowly starting to pressure nitrogen prices on global markets, with a world economy that continues to miss-fire keeping demand less than robust. Prices are expensive, but continue to show no signs on any spring surge.
Ammonia prices fell $18.15 a ton out of the Black Sea, with the international benchmark price down to $499 a ton. The Gulf index could also reset lower for March; it’s currently teetering at $595, suggesting a potential drop of $30 to stay competitive with imports. Those prices suggest a retail price around $825, which is available in some areas. Costs on central and southern Plains were running $800 to $825 in many locations, even before prepay discounts. USDA put the average price in Iowa this week at $881, up around $4 in a range from $850 to $920.
UAN prices added another $2.50 a ton at the Gulf, the seven straight week of increases with the price now put at $340 a ton for 32%. The solution remains popular as farmers in the west especially look for products that give them the most flexibility for application, due to uncertain weather and crop conditions. Prices for swaps into April don’t look a lot higher, however, suggesting the market may be getting uncompetitive. Our current fair value cost for 28% based on the current market is $382. Prices on the central and southern Plains are running $350 to $385. USDA said the average price in Iowa fell $19 for 28% to $393, in a range from $384 to $405.
Urea prices broke for the second straight week on wholesale markets, with Chinese exports and and a big import lineup in the U.S. weighing on prices. The Black Sea was off another $27.20 to $362.80, while the Gulf dropped $7 to $413.25. Swaps for April are a few bucks higher than that, but May through September are lower, as is the Black Sea. Those benchmark prices suggest a retail price around $545; costs on the central and southern Plains ranged from $530 to $580. Charges in Iowa remain higher; the average found by USDA was $615, up $12, in a range from $570 to $680.
Phosphate prices showed little movement again this week, with lack of demand from India still weighing on prices internationally. The Gulf index for DAP edged $3 lower to $465.40, though export prices were up slightly. Forward prices show little movement, with June quoted at $447.50. Current wholesale prices indicate a fair value between $555 and $565, though dealers on the central and southern Plains were higher at $596 to $630. USDA said the cost of MAP rose $11 to $678.50 this week.
Potash prices remain soft, with the market continuing to drift despite better movement at lower prices internationally. Current wholesale prices suggest a fair value retail expense of around $550, with fundamentals, including large inventories, projecting $535. Dealers on the central and southern Plains were at $550 to $595, though some remain much higher. The price in Iowa this week was little changed, according to USDA, with the average at $606 in a range from $560
The full article, including a range of insightful graphs, can be viewed via the link below: http://farmfutures.com/mdfm/Faress1/author/252/2013/2/WFertR022713.pdf