The Middle East is under increasing pressure. The US market, which already offered net incomes about $ 40 lower than other regions, saw prices erode again. Brazilian prices are also under pressure as sellers try to find liquidity to move long positions. Little respite can be found eastward as Australia and Thailand’s shopping seasons draw to a close. Indian interest has not yet resurfaced, and suppliers in the Arabian Gulf should find very strong competition for this activity when it finally emerges. Middle East FOB values ââfell to $ 145- $ 195 mt at the end of June, down slightly from $ 145-210 mt FOB in May.
In Europe, a few small sales have been made, but in general buyers have bought a lot of metric tonnes futures a fortnight ago and now appear to be in a good position to wait pending lower FOB levels in Egypt. FOB values ââin North Africa have already gone from $ 200 to $ 210 FOB to $ 200 to $ 215 a month ago.
In China, demand for the domestic market continues to boost export levels. But that shouldn’t last long, and a price correction here is inevitable. Chinese pellet prices were between 210 and 212 FOB dollars at the end of June, compared to 215 to 220 FOB dollars in May.
Overall, although there may be pockets of stability, the international urea market remains generally weak and prices are expected to decline slightly in the near term.
Domestic urea prices fell through June, showing no signs of strengthening due to the seasonal increase in demand. The New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) market continues to suffer from oversupply even as traders re-export barges for sales to Latin America, effectively removing nearly 200,000 tonnes from the domestic market. Barges ended the month at $ 158-160 / ton FOB NOLA, up from $ 160- $ 165 / ton at the end of May. Truck prices from major river terminals are between $ 190 and $ 195 / tonne FOB, compared to $ 200 / tonne a month ago.
Grower demand is dwindling in the Midwest as much of the corn crop becomes too large to cover. Vendors of barges with limited length and storage space are becoming increasingly aggressive. Summer filling activity has been light so far. Shopping was to resume after the July 4 vacation.
Wholesalers supplied in tonnes off the river continue to see lower volumes compared to previous years. Part of this is attributed to weaker demand and low crop prices, but new domestic production in the interior is singled out as the main reason. Warehouse stocks are inspected and the general feedback is that the carry-over will be higher than in previous years. This weighs on the ideas of futures prices.
Around the same time last year, NOLA was trading just over $ 10 higher in the FOB low of $ 180. Then, in mid-July, prices hit a low in the mid-160s. This year, the $ 160 / tonne mark has already been reached, and the question is whether it will be the lowest or if the prices are low. prices are yet to come down this summer. At present, the barge market has been supported by re-export sales to Latin America achievable by traders with today’s international prices when they can buy barges as low as $ 160. . International prices are higher than the domestic market; however, they have been weak so far this year. The demand outlook in India and Latin America does not suggest anything special to change the trend.
International market prices and Latin American demand will certainly be strong supporting indicators for the NOLA barge market throughout the summer, as they will dictate how many tonnes CF can export from Donaldsonville and stay away from the market. indoor market. If prices rise internationally and we see strong exports to Latin America, NOLA prices may strengthen domestically before the fall. On the flip side, new production also exists in Borger, TX, and Wever and Port Neal, Iowa, and it is here that producers are largely deprived of the opportunity to export.
As production continues through the summer, buyers will likely take a wait-and-see approach this year to see if the pressure to move tonnes hits before fall and growers are forced to cut prices again in order to motivate anyone to store tons. . Either way, the current market looks relatively balanced and prices are unlikely to change much one way or the other. Our view is that the latter situation is more likely to keep domestic prices stable or lower in the medium term outlook.
UAN prices fell until June under pressure from depressed urea prices. Price reductions were made despite good demand throughout the month and various occasional breakdowns.
Movement across the Corn Belt slows down seasonally as the corn harvest progresses. The warehouses supplied off the river are dwindling or, in some cases, are already depleted. Lots of locally made products stay put to end the season. Some sellers who are concerned about carry-over inventory are choosing to cut prices now ahead of CF Industries’ looming summer fill announcement, which will certainly lead to lower prices. Some ton truck bids off the Mississippi have been seen as low as $ 160 FOB for 32%. Typically, truck prices off the river are around $ 170 / tonne FOB.
Barge trade was limited in June as the remaining spot demand is unlikely to support the volume of barge quantity, and the prices of the latest barges are too high for anyone to be motivated to buy it now and to store it during the summer. Current terminal prices on the river can support a NOLA barge price of around $ 130 to $ 135 / tonne FOB for 32%.
The outlook for UAN prices remains weak with continued pressure from depressed urea values ââand new domestic production, keeping supplies sufficient throughout the summer.
All major references in the international phosphate markets came under pressure in June as purchasing activity in key regions slowed. Import demand in India, Pakistan and Brazil appeared less robust than it should be for the time of year for several reasons. However, lower ammonia prices helped producers maintain a similar margin to last month.
The larger volumes booked earlier in the year provided a cushion for Brazilian buyers of MAP 11-52-0 and allowed importers to pull out in anticipation of lower prices going forward. The Brazilian market was also affected by lower soybean prices, resulting in delays in crop sales and hence in cash flow. MAP’s delivered sales in Brazil were between 360 and 365 million tonnes at the end of June, down about $ 5 from May prices.
In India, high inventories discouraged interest in imports in the second quarter. Subsequently, the export prices of Chinese DAP had to be reduced for the metric tons to find a home. FOB prices in China fell to $ 335- $ 340 mt at the end of June, from $ 340 to $ 347 mt in May.
Export prices from the United States also declined at the end of June as domestic demand slowed and Mosaic was forced to turn to India for spot tonnage. DAP prices fell to $ 345 mt FOB Gulf US, from $ 350 to $ 355 mt in May.
While new business has put phosphate producers in a more comfortable position for July, there are still metric tons from the United States, Mexico, Russia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, China and more. from Australia weighing in on the market to be shipped next month. Those in the market buy overnight as they sense lower numbers coming. It still appears that price concessions will be needed as demand on the horizon continues to appear insufficient relative to the booming supply in the Middle East and North Africa region.
In the United States, phosphate markets have been calm with slowing producer demand and buyers are now mainly awaiting the announcement of summer fill programs by major North American producers. There has been little incentive to buy import tonnes before the announcement of the summer fill by producers, as there does not appear to be enough price confidence to meet forward needs at current prices. .
The purchase of barges has been slow despite seemingly thin warehouse stocks and the length of traders in the river limited. DAP barges were trading between $ 310- $ 312 / tonne FOB NOLA at the end of June, down slightly from $ 310- $ 318 / tonne in May. MAP barge prices remained stable around $ 318 / tonne FOB NOLA.
Demand from end users is seasonally slow as we move through the âwatch the crop growâ period. Phosphate interest in winter wheat plantings is expected to revive in late August / September. In-warehouse fast DAP prices on the river system remained stable to slightly lower in June, ranging between $ 340 and $ 345 / tonne FOB truck. MAP operated at a premium of $ 5 to $ 10 at most warehouses.
The domestic barge market continues to operate below international prices, which has kept the range of summer imports relatively light. Still, demand does not appear to be supporting price increases at this time, and prices are expected to remain stable to low in July.
There has been limited activity in the potash market with almost everyone waiting for an announcement from major producers on summer fill prices. River terminal prices are generally unchanged from May at the FOB level of $ 245 to $ 250 / tonne. Fast demand is seasonally slow. The potash barge trade was illiquid pending the arrival of ships from overseas. Some trades were heard in the $ 206- $ 212 / tonne FOB NOLA range towards the end of June, largely unchanged from May.
Some believe that the major producers will publish summer fill prices at current values ââor even attempt to increase them. If so, buyers will be reluctant to take several tonnes as import volumes for fiscal 2017 appear to be roughly the same as in previous years and crop prices remain low. Buyers’ ideas for the North American fill price are about $ 245 / ton FOB Midwestern warehouse.
Potash prices appear slightly lower for summer fill prices as producers seek to encourage forward buying and movement of the product into storage.
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