Overview

The global market for compound NPKs is one of the most important and dynamic markets in the fertilizer sector. Around 20pc of a total market of over 100mn t was traded between countries in 2023. This traded volume is growing relatively quickly, with an increasing number of fertilizer producers entering the market or expanding their supply base to meet demand from a rising number of buyers. Growth from consumers is well founded on fundamentals. Farmers are under ever-increasing pressure to improve their yields and crop quality, and to use fertilizers efficiently, not only to manage costs but to limit potential environmental losses.

Greater agricultural sophistication is bringing an increasing variety of grades to the market. Producers are also striving to move from commodity grades, such as 15-15-15, to more specific formulations (often tailored to specific customer needs) to increase nutrient-use efficiency and capture market share. 

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has also seen major shifts in trade flows, given Russia’s significant compound-NPK capacity, and Russian-origin product has long been seen as a benchmark for high-quality NPKs. Russian exports have been seen shifting from Europe to India, and this is reflected in NPK & NPS grades and trade.

Argus has decades of experience covering the NPKs market. We incorporate our multi-commodity market expertise in key areas including nitrogen, phosphates, potash and sulphur to provide the full market narrative.

Argus support market participants with:

  • Weekly NPKs price assessments, proprietary data and market commentary
  • Bespoke consulting project support

Latest NPKs news

Browse the latest market moving news on the global NPKs industry.

Latest NPKs news

Fertilizer affordability weakens in 1Q24 on higher N, P


25/03/24
Latest NPKs news
25/03/24

Fertilizer affordability weakens in 1Q24 on higher N, P

London, 25 March (Argus) — Global fertilizer product affordability trended lower through most of the first quarter of 2024, as crop prices slid on higher expected global supplies, while nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers remained at high levels before coming under pressure in the second half of March. The decline in nutrient affordability this quarter comes at a time when farmers start preparing for the spring fertilizer application season in the northern hemisphere. The Argus fertilizer affordability index ⁠— a global assessment calculated using the ratio between the fertilizer and crop price index ⁠— fell to the lowest quarterly average since the fourth quarter of 2022. Nutrient affordability weakened by 10 percentage points since the start of the year, to 1.03 points in March from 1.13 points in January. An affordability index above 1 indicates that fertilizers are more affordable compared with the base year, which was set in 2004, while below 1 indicates lower nutrient affordability. High urea, phosphate prices weigh on affordability The fertilizer index ⁠— which includes international prices for urea, DAP and potash adjusted by global usage ⁠— has reached the highest quarter average since 1Q23, owing to high urea and phosphate prices. Urea prices surged through the second half of January, following a bearish end to 2023, initially spurred by short-covering and fresh demand from European markets in the wake of an Indian purchase tender. Levels out of Egypt jumped by around $70/t through the month to over $400/t fob for European markets. Prices remained firm through the first half of February, supported by strong demand from Australia and Thailand, as importers warily eyed rising prices. The supply-demand balance east of Suez was also tightened by plant closures in Iran and Malaysia, as well as restrictions on Indonesian shipments prior to the elections on 14 February. But a return of urea supply east of Suez, a slowdown in buying and weaker gas prices pressured urea levels through the second half of February and into March across most markets, apart from the US, resulting in prices to weaken on the month. For phosphates, DAP/MAP prices remained high on tight supply through the first quarter, while China refrained from exporting product. Also strong demand in Australia and the US diverted cargoes away from other markets. Limited MAP supply and emerging demand encouraged suppliers to raise their offers in March in the west. Meanwhile, in the east, the imminent reopening of China is adding to expected supply, and has turned DAP markets bearish. Traders have started to short Chinese DAP with India's RCF awarding its latest buy tender at $575/t cfr — $20/t lower than the last reported cfr sale into India. But for now, prices remain far above the breakeven price of around $509/t cfr, given the reduced Indian DAP subsidy of 21,676 rupees/t for the April-September kharif season. Crop prices under pressure High fertilizer prices so far in the quarter coincided with a decline in grain prices for wheat, corn and soybeans owing to expectations of higher global supplies in the coming season. This has led to the crop price index — the key element of the affordability index — falling to its lowest point since the fourth quarter of 2020. Global wheat output is forecast to reach 799mn t in the 2024-25 season (July-June), according to the International Grains Council (IGC), up by 10mn t from the IGC's 2023-24 projection, but consumption is expected to be flat on the previous season. Global corn production is also expected to rise in 2024-25, up by 6mn t on the year to 1.233bn t in 2024-25. And global corn consumption is forecast to increase, up by 18mn t to 1.23bn t in 2024-25. Carryover corn stocks for major exporters are set to increase by 7mn t on the year to 78mn t, according to the IGC. As for soybeans, the IGC forecasts global production to rise by 23mn t to 413mn t in 2024-25 because of larger acreages and improved yields. Global consumption is projected to rise by 21mn t on the year to 404mn t, according to the IGC. The council also expects higher carryover stocks at 75mn t in 2024-25, up by 9mn t on the year. By Lili Minton, Harry Minihan and Tom Hampson Global Fertilizer Affordability Index (points) Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Latest NPKs news

Fresh large-scale NPK sales made to India


14/03/24
Latest NPKs news
14/03/24

Fresh large-scale NPK sales made to India

London, 14 March (Argus) — Sales totalling 100,000t of key NPK grades have been made to India, including 10-26-26 at a steady price of around $420/t cfr duty unpaid. The Russian-produced material will be delivered to two receivers. One buyer is to receive 30,000t of 10-26-26 and 30,000t of 12-32-16, while another will take 20,000t each of the two grades. The 10-26-26 sales at around $420/t cfr duty unpaid were unchanged on previous levels . The current premium over 10-26-26 for 12-32-16 puts the fresh sales of the latter grade at around $440/t cfr duty unpaid. The rise in market activity has been helped by the Indian government's announcement of nutrient-based subsidies for the upcoming kharif season. The subsidies for all complex fertilizers were raised, relative to the rabi season. This included increases of over 19pc for 10-26-26 and almost 20pc for 12-32-16. By David Maher Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Latest NPKs news

Proposed Minnesota bill may increase fertilizer tax


12/03/24
Latest NPKs news
12/03/24

Proposed Minnesota bill may increase fertilizer tax

Houston, 12 March (Argus) — The Minnesota House of Representatives will consider a bill that would require a new fee on all nitrogen fertilizer sold or distributed in the state to provide funds to secure safe drinking water for residents, while also adding to a fertilizer inspection fee. HF 4135 would add a drinking water fee of 99¢ per ton of nitrogen sold or distributed in the state for 2024 and 2025, enforced by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The MDA's revenue from this tax would be bestowed upon the health boards of Minnesotan counties based on the number of private drinking wells with nitrate levels excess of 10mg/liter (l), which is the health risk limit for drinking water, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The fee would increase to $1.39/t in 2026 for anhydrous ammonia only. If nitrogen sales continue to increase year over year in 2027, the fee would rise at the MDA's discretion. The new tax would include DAP and MAP, urea, liquid fertilizer with 28pc and 32pc total nitrogen, and anhydrous ammonia. The bill also calls for the current 40¢/t fertilizer inspection fee to increase to 44¢/t in 2025 and then to 70¢/t in 2026. This tax would come from the existing Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) fee. An analysis and report would be required from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) of the sewer sludge used for fertilizer for polyfluoroalkyl substances — long-lasting chemicals which can lead to a variety of health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The MPCA would then report results and recommendations to the legislature by 1 February 2025. Minnesota Farm Bureau opposes the bill along with 10 southeast county farm bureaus. "We already have 3 taxes on fertilizer," expressed the bureau's President Dan Glessing in the committe hearing on 29 February. The bill was originally introduced by Representatives Hansen (D) and Rehm (D) on 22 February, recently adding Representative Fischer (D) as an author on 4 March. "Average taxpayers have been on the hook to subsidize those who use fertilizer, said Hansen. "My bill would add a dedicated source paid by users to address the drinking water crisis." The bill was meant to be heard today by the Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy committee, but was removed from the agenda. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Latest NPKs news

Houthi missile hits Saudi fertilizer vessel off Yemen


20/02/24
Latest NPKs news
20/02/24

Houthi missile hits Saudi fertilizer vessel off Yemen

London, 20 February (Argus) — The crew members of the Belize-flagged Handysize bulk carrier Rubymar , carrying a cargo of Saudi fertilizer, have abandoned ship off Yemen after it was hit by a missile fired by Houthi militants late on 18 February. The British-owned vessel was in the Gulf of Aden near the Bab el-Mandeb strait when it was hit by at least one missile while another missed its target, according to US Central Command. The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said it had received reports of an attack 40 miles (about 64.4km) south of Mokha, Yemen, on an unnamed vessel. US Central Command confirmed that the Rubymar sustained damage and then issued a distress call that was answered by a coalition warship and another merchant vessel. The crew was evacuated safely and have been transported to the port of Djibouti, according to the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority. The Rubymar was last located on vessel-tracking data in the Bab el-Mandeb strait between Yemen and Djibouti. The UKMTO said the vessel was at anchor and had been abandoned. A Houthi social media statement said the ship was at risk of sinking. The vessel departed the Saudi port of Ras al-Khair on 8 February and was bound for Varna, Bulgaria, on the western edge of the Black Sea, vessel-tracking data show. It was due to arrive on 27 February. There has been no confirmation as to what grade of fertilizer was on board, although vessel-tracking data do list fertilizers as the cargo. Bulgaria in the past has imported NP grades from Saudi Arabia. A spokesperson for the Saudi producer declined to comment on any aspect of the incident. The size of the vessel would indicate a cargo of about 30,000t. This is the second confirmed major strike on a vessel carrying fertilizer in the region. In mid-January, the US-owned Genco Picardy , carrying a cargo of 30pc P2O5 phosphate rock from Egypt to India, came under drone attack by Houthi militants. This caused a fire onboard that was extinguished and the vessel proceeded to Thoothukudi. By Mike Nash Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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