October Data Shows Fertilizer Prices Remain High

November 15, 2023 13:57:48

DTN’s price tracker for the retail price of fertilizer in the United States shows that the price has continued to increase, as seen in the last week of last month. DTN collects price bids of fertilizer from agriculture retailers weekly to compile its fertilizer index. Figures show that in comparison to September, the prices of six of the eight major fertilizers were higher. This includes UAN32, which hit $415 per ton and UAN28, which reached $358 per ton. MAP also saw its price reach $801 per ton, DAP averaged at $713/ton and 10-34-0 got to $611/ton.

Of all the increases, however, only one fertilizer saw a 5% increase: anhydrous. This nitrogen fertilizer recorded an average price of $826 per ton for the month of October. The tracker also recorded a drop in the price of urea and potash fertilizers, which averaged at $573 per ton and $508 a ton respectively.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average price of UAN32 was $0.65, UAN28 hit $0.64, urea got to $0.62 and anhydrous reached $0.50.

Bruno Fonseca, Rabobank’s senior analyst of farm inputs, stated in the latest issue of the semiannual fertilizer outlook by RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness that the fertilizer market was calmer, especially in comparison to last year.  The models in the report demonstrate recovery in the usage of fertilizer globally thus far into the year, with a 3% increase. This is a positive sign, especially since usage declined by about 7% in the previous year. Forecasts expect that by 2024, fertilizer usage will have gone up by an additional 5%.

The report also highlighted that figures included aligned with the Affordability Index, which demonstrated improved conditions for fertilizer purchase, compared to 2022.

It is expected that nutrients will face certain challenges next year, with the report noting that the nitrogen market may struggle with a drop in demand from wheat and corn growers. Uncertainty in the production cost of nitrogen fertilizers and related uncertainty in the natural gas market is also expected.

Some things are looking up, however, such as the outlook for potash and phosphates. It is expected that supply will increase in the potash market as well as in the phosphate market, with the latter increase brought on by the return of DAP/MAP exports from China.

Currently, the prices of all fertilizers are lower in comparison to 2022 figures, with anhydrous, potash, both UAN28 and UAN32, urea, DAP, 10-34-0 and MAP all being cheaper by 42%, 41%, 39%, 31%, 23%, 20% and 18% respectively.

Fertilizer makers such as Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE: CMP) now have to continually streamline their supply chains in order to keep costs down and avail fertilizers at affordable prices so that food prices don’t skyrocket beyond their current levels.

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