Overview

The global phosphates market has witnessed increasing volatility, in response to military conflicts, political tensions and changing market dynamics. Price fluctuations have continued to buffet the market, with increasing demand from south and Southeast Asia the main regions driving consumption growth. Rising raw material prices and improved affordability have lifted prices once again. 

Phosphates' usage is also not solely limited to fertilizers. Battery-material suppliers are increasingly seeking to source phosphate rock and specialty phosphates-based products to meet the rapidly rising demand for lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for electric vehicle production.

Our extensive phosphates coverage includes DAP, MAP, TSP and SSP, as well as raw materials phosphate rock and phosphoric acid, with assessments also spanning feed products MCP and DCP. Argus has many decades of experience covering the phosphates market and incorporate our multi-commodity market expertise in key areas including sulphur and ammonia to provide the full market narrative.

Argus support market participants with:

  • Daily and weekly phosphates price assessments, proprietary data and market commentary
  • Short and medium to long-term forecasting, modelling and analysis of processed phosphate and phosphate rock prices, supply, demand, trade and projects
  • Bespoke consulting project support

Latest phosphate news

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

Latest phosphate news
28/03/24

Mosaic plant sustains minor damage from fire

Mosaic plant sustains minor damage from fire

Houston, 28 March (Argus) — Florida-based phosphate and potash fertilizer producer Mosaic anticipates limited damage to a production plant near Tampa and minimal disruption to operations in the coming weeks following a brushfire on Monday. The brushfire ignited Monday evening during routine maintenance near Mosaic's Riverview phosphate production facility and was initially contained before rekindling Tuesday morning because of heavy winds. The fire was fully under control by Tuesday afternoon, according to local first responders. Mosaic told Argus on Tuesday the fire was not considered a threat to the facility initially, but now expects the plant sustained "limited damage to ancillary operations" and the impact could last between four to six weeks. The Riverview plant has a production capacity of 1.8mn metric tonnes (t) of processed phosphate products, and produces 30,000 t/week, according to Mosaic. The facility was producing phosphates primarily for exports to Brazil at the time of the fire, the company added. Smoke was observed Monday from the fire as a result of foam retardants used by local fire officials to cool the high-density polyethylene pipes. Polyethylene gas piping is often used for natural gas distribution. Natural gas flows delivered to the plant fell slightly Wednesday at 2.42mn cf/d, down from 2.45mn cf/d on Monday, once the fire was extinguished, according to data from Florida Gas Transmission. Flows at the plant on Thursday rebounded to 2.45mn cf/d, in line with expectations that affected phosphate output at the plant should only be temporary. By Taylor Zavala Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Latest phosphate news

Fertilizer affordability weakens in 1Q24 on higher N, P


25/03/24
Latest phosphate 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 phosphate news

Brazil's 2024 grain, ferts freights unusually low


22/03/24
Latest phosphate news
22/03/24

Brazil's 2024 grain, ferts freights unusually low

Sao Paulo, 22 March (Argus) — The slow pace of farmer selling for Brazil's 2023-24 soybean crop and lower liquidity in the fertilizer market have contributed to lower demand for transport services in early 2024, also raising concerns about a possible logistical bottleneck. Demand to transport grains in Brazil usually peaks in the first quarter — increasing freight rates — because of the soybean crop harvest. Works in the current cycle have proceeded at a satisfactory pace, despite climatic problems brought by the El Nino weather phenomenon. The harvest in Mato Grosso state — Brazil's largest oilseed producer — reached 95.6pc of planted areas by the week ended 15 March, only 0.9 of a percentage point below the previous harvest and 0.6 of a percentage point below the five-year average for the period, according to the state's institute of agricultural economy Imea. But crop sales have been slow. Farmers in Mato Grosso sold 46.3pc of the 2023-24 soybean crop by early March, 5.9 percentage points less than in the previous crop and 19 points behind the five-year average for the period, according to Imea. Lower oilseed prices in the international market have encouraged producers to slow the pace of sales. As a result, grain freight rates during harvest time fell — which is unusual for this time of year — on lower demand for transportation services. Freight rates on the Sorriso-Rondonopolis route, bound for the rail terminal in Rondonopolis, reached R153/metric tonne ($31/t) in the first week of March, from R200/t in the same period in 2023. In the corridors towards Miritituba, in Para state, via the BR-163 highway to the waterway transshipment point, the Sorriso-Miritituba route was at R253/t in early March, from R315/t last year. The Querencia-Palmeirante route, to Tocantins state and then via rail to the port of Itaqui in Maranhao state, reached R260/t in early March, from R335/t last year. The Rondonopolis-Paranagua route, bound south, was at R338/t in the beginning of March, down from R390/t in the same period in 2023. Demand for fertilizer freights was also unusually lower in the first quarter. At this time of year, farmers typically receive large volumes of fertilizers to attend to their soybean harvest and corn planting activities. But the purchase of inputs was also delayed as farmers postponed crop sales. With lower liquidity in the nutrient market, demand for transportation services was also lower. In Paranagua, freight rates to Rondonopolis reached R234/t in early March, from R276/t in 2023. Freight costs to Sorriso stood at R318/t, from R348/t in 2023. Freight demand for routes originating in the Santos and Cubatao ports, in Sao Paulo state, and bound to Mato Grosso, was also lower. Freight rates to Sorriso reached R365/t in March, from R385/t a year earlier. Costs to Rondonopolis stood at R255/t in the period, from R280/t a year prior. In the Northern Arc, trends on routes from Sao Luis, at Itaqui, were similar. The Sao Luis-Querencia route reached R260/t, from R336/t in the same period in 2023. The Sao Luis-Porto Nacional stretch stood at R202/t, from R249/t last year. This scenario concerns market participants, as it could create a logistical bottleneck. Soybeans will need to be shipped for exports eventually. In parallel, fertilizers arriving in Brazilian ports will have to be delivered to the domestic market. That could lead to increased competition for trucks and a significant increase in freight rates, as well as longer queues at ports for loading and unloading ships, raising the logistics costs. By João Petrini Grain freight rates - Rondonopolis-Paranagua R/t Fertilizer freight rate - Sao Luis-Porto Nacional R/t Fertilizer freight rate - Paranagua-Rondonopolis R/t Grain freight rates - Sinop-Miritituba R/t Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Latest phosphate news

More DAP imports needed for Pakistan’s kharif


20/03/24
Latest phosphate news
20/03/24

More DAP imports needed for Pakistan’s kharif

London, 20 March (Argus) — Latest production and stock data issued by Pakistan's National Fertilizer Development Centre point to a lack of DAP supply unless enough imports are bought for the kharif season that runs from April to September. For kharif, DAP availability is anticipated to be 536,000t, comprising 98,000t of opening stocks and 438,000t of local production. DAP demand is expected to be 897,000t. Assuming no imports, the deficit is nearly 50,000t in June, rising to 150,000t in July, 259,000t in August and 361,000t in September. The NDFC has advised that gas supplies to local production assets need to be maintained and that enough imports are secured to ensure supply. For now, DAP import demand is subdued because of adequate stocks through to May. Latest indications peg DAP at $610-620/t cfr, down on the last Argus assessment at $615-627/t cfr. Domestic DAP prices fell back in February by 2.8pc to 12,399 rupees/t ($44/50kg bag) ex-Karachi, or around $880/t. Pakistan DAP offtake reached 115,000t in February, DAP production reached 72,000t and imports were 71,800t. Total DAP availability in February was 204,000t, comprising 60,000t of opening stocks, 72,000t of imports and the same of production. Offtake was 115,000t leaving a closing stock of 89,000t. This is a little below the 100,000t minimum buffer owing to weak output in January as a result of late phosphoric acid shipments to Pakistan because of the ongoing situation in the Red Sea. Output locally at the Fauji plant recovered to normal levels last month. DAP availability overall for rabi (October 2023 to March 2024) is estimated at 977,000t, comprising 38,000t of opening stocks, 392,000t of local output and 546,000t of imports. DAP demand is estimated at 849,000t. By Mike Nash Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Latest phosphate news

US bill would make phosphate, potash critical minerals


19/03/24
Latest phosphate news
19/03/24

US bill would make phosphate, potash critical minerals

Houston, 19 March (Argus) — The US Senate on 14 March introduced a bill that would include key fertilizers phosphate and potash on the list of critical minerals by the US Department of Interior. The designation could streamline permitting for new production sites in the US by consolidating the permit process to a single agency, said industry advocacy group The Fertilizer Institute (TFI). US sanctions on Belarusian potash and US import duties on Moroccan and Russian phosphate disrupted trade flows in recent years and created supply uncertainty in US markets that contributed to volatile fertilizer prices and occasionally tight availability. "The events of the past few years have shown us that food security is national security and now is the time to change how we talk about these vital resources," TFI chief executive Corey Rosenbusch said. Both potash and phosphate fertilizers are vital to agricultural production in the US. MOP imports — a key potash fertilizer — totaled 11.8mn t in 2023, alongside key phosphate fertilizers DAP and MAP, which together accounted to 2.3mn t of deliveries to the US, according to US Census data. Russia and Belarus, two of 14 potash-producing countries, together represented more than 40pc of global production in 2023 and output of both countries is expected to grow in 2024. For phosphate rock, a necessary feedstock for phosphate fertilizer production, Morocco and China accounted for about half of global output in 2023. The US Geological Survey previously listed potash on the critical minerals list but removed it around 2022 during its last update. The Department of Energy's prior list of critical minerals in 2023 did not include potash or phosphate. Minerals are added and detracted from the list depending on their affect on national security, the economy, and role in critical infrastructure, according to Interior. Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska), Rick Scott (R-Florida) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) proposed the bipartisan bill, SB 3956, to the committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An analogous bill was put forth by the House on 13 June but has not received attention since then. By Meghan Yoyotte Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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