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There is now a small window for early buyers to complete their purchases before the market lull over harvest and holidays.
Livestock producers are chasing grass after the driest period for the northwest since 1929. Even so, sales of NPK have only seen a minor downturn.
Sulphur grades are selling at a small premium of £5/t over their straight nitrogen equivalents so there is no reason not to use this cheap, but immensely valuable nutrient.
Imported AN is not widely available at present, but prices are about £5/t below the UK equivalent. Around 100,000 tonnes of urea has been traded (40,000 believed to be ex-store from last season), but prices have been quite volatile, between £215/t and £240/t.
The market for phosphate and potash has been very quiet. Prices have dropped a little with both triple superphosphate and muriate trading between £305/t and £320/t.
However, the global forecast for these nutrients is one of reinvestment by farmers and growth in sales of the nutrients. Prices will not be stable for long, although after three or four years the supply of potash should be capable of exceeding demand.
As for the future supply balance of nitrogen, excessive imbalances either way are not immediately anticipated.
New capacity is planned, notably in the Middle East and China, but seemingly endless delays prevent the market from being currently swamped with product.
By 2014, supply is predicted to exceed demand by some 10%, but history teaches us that, should this be the case, it will lead to the removal of older, less-efficient plants from manufacturing.
July 2010 (£/t delivered)*
UK 34.5% N
NK Silage grades
£5 below domestic
*All illustrated prices are based upon 24t loads for cash payment the month following. Prices for smaller loads and 50kg bags will vary considerably.