Urea Slows Downward Trend -- Prices Uncertain Ahead

September 10, 2013 10:00 AM
 

China's export holiday is almost over, and declines in urea have lasted throughout the summer months. China lowers its tariff each year, once that nation has filled its domestic needs. But that window is about to close, raising the tariff from just 2% back to the prohibitive 110%.

We have issued alerts for both potash and anhydrous, and urea may be near a seasonal floor as well and with China reestablishing a higher tariff, prices are likely to level off. Urea moved higher for the first time in six weeks in this week's Monitor's regional average -- currently at $497.56, up $3.31 over the previous week.

The table below outlines week-over retail pricing data as reported to your Inputs Monitor this week.

Urea
Previous Week
Change
Current Week
Iowa
$575.51
+$29.43
$604.94
Illinois
$544.30
-$23.59
$520.71
Indiana
$572.32
+$1.12
$573.44
Wisconsin
$443.19
+$31.81
$475.00
Minnesota
$454.19
-$6.45
$447.74
South Dakota
$440.65
+$4.04
$444.69
North Dakota
$441.84
+$16.83
$458.67
Nebraska
$472.53
-$0.61
$471.92
Missouri
$480.25
-$2.02
$478.23
Kansas
$456.38
-$9.38
$447.00
Ohio
$570.94
+$8.20
$579.14
Michigan
$478.67
-$9.36
$469.31
Average
$494.25
+$3.31
$497.56

 

Declines tallied $51.41 while gains totaled $91.43 suggesting a bullish turnaround ahead. Wholesale urea out of Ukraine was the only sendout price we observe that increased this week, influenced by scheduled maintenance and difficulties at 3 Ukraine nitrogen production facilities including a shutdown at Stirol, Ukraine's largest nitrogen producer in wake of fatalities from an August explosion.

Iowa urea moved $29.43 higher during the report week. Wisconsin added $31.81; North Dakota up $16.83 and Ohio popped $8.20. The last time urea moved higher was the week of July 15 when prices edged $3.16 higher. Since then, prices have fallen $53.26 in regional averages. As urea slows its downward trajectory, we recommend rewarding the setback by booking 20%-40% of SPRING urea needs today. Most growers shy from fall urea applications, but if you are a fall urea user, the time is now to get aggressive with booking fall product.

Spring demand will add to high Chinese tariff numbers and lagging Ukraine N production. By the end of this winter, prices may rebound and eliminate some of the declines it has posted over the last year. Consider hedging against price uncertainty by booking a portion of spring urea today and fill remaining urea needs for fall at current pricing.


 

 

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