Global Urea Market Unveils Pessimism for December 2023, Dull Demand to Blame
Global Urea Market Unveils Pessimism for December 2023, Dull Demand to Blame

Global Urea Market Unveils Pessimism for December 2023, Dull Demand to Blame

  • 10-Jan-2024 3:11 PM
  • Journalist: Kim Chul Son

Global Urea market unveiled pessimistic trend throughout December 2023. This current price dip is primarily attributed to muted demand from the downstream fertilizer industry and trade uncertainties. Further, declining price of essential raw material including Natural Gas and Ammonia along with lower production rate exerted downward cost pressure on Urea prices globally.  Further, as the year approached its conclusion, characterized by minimal signs of activity and persistently weak spot demand.

In December 2023, the European Urea market experienced a significant decline in prices. This downturn is primarily linked to subdued demand from the major downstream fertilizer sector. As the year neared its end, marked by minimal activity and consistent subdued spot demand, adverse weather conditions in the UK, France, and Germany worsened the situation. This weather-related impact poses a potential threat to the demand for Urea in fertilizers in 2024. Despite the conclusion of the winter planting season, the inventory of Urea has not been depleted to the anticipated extent due to continuous wet weather conditions.

Similarly, the Urea market in the United States experienced a substantial decline in prices. This price downturn is primarily linked to limited demand for Urea, both in the international and domestic fertilizer markets, aggravated by significant stockpiles within the nation. Ongoing challenges at the Panama Canal, a critical global trade route originating in the USA, have contributed to this scenario. Moreover, some shipping companies are opting for alternative trade routes instead of the Suez Canal due to concerns about potential rebel attacks. The limitations at the Panama Canal have compelled certain shippers to reroute exports, including Urea, through the Suez Canal to access Asian markets. If constraints at the Suez Canal persist, exporting Urea from the US may become increasingly difficult, potentially leading to an oversupply in the domestic market and subsequent price reduction. The accumulation of Urea inventories within the country has been exacerbated by delayed shipments to the international market. Furthermore, the demand for Urea remained subdued in the United States, aligning with the conclusion of the peak fertilizer season.

Globally, there has been a lacklustre in market activities as producers have given precedence to contracted volumes over potential spot availability in January. Particularly, the Urea market in Brazil, a significant importing nation of Urea from United States, has been subdued. Despite the ongoing planting season for Rice, Sorghum, and Soybeans in the country, demand for Ammonia from the significant downstream fertilizer sector remained subdued due to unfavourable weather conditions. The northern part of the country experienced extremely hot and dry weather in the first half of December 2023, exacerbating crop conditions. Concurrently, the southern part had cooler temperatures in the first half of the month, followed by a slight increase later. The divergence in weather patterns, with wet conditions in southern Brazil and drier conditions farther north, is primarily influenced by El Niño, expected to persist into early 2024. This has dampened the purchasing enthusiasm of fertilizer consumers due to potential threats to crops.

According to ChemAnalyst, a decline in Urea prices is expected in the global market in the upcoming months. This downward trend is primarily linked to weakened demand from the significant downstream fertilizer sector.

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