Quarterly Update on Global Bulk Nitrogen Market
For the Quarter Ending June 2021
Nitrogen prices in North America climbed effectively during this quarter. Initially prices of Nitrogen remained high, due to regional shortage after the freezing fallout experienced in February. Later, further improvement in demand from the downstream fertilizers sector led to improvement in the production activities. As the supply was still low, increase in demand widened the demand and supply gap and made Nitrogen prices to rise effectively throughout the quarter. In the meantime, global demand for Nitrogen increased respectively, where the overall supply remained tight that induced buoyancy in its prices across global market.
In the Asian market, prices of Nitrogen showcased mixed sentiments, where the demand from downstream fertilizers segment remained consistent in China and Japan but remained dull in India. In the Indian market, prices of Nitrogen decreased effectively during May following the fall in demand due to unprecedented surge in COVID cases in the country. Several industrial gas manufacturers diverted their Nitrogen manufacturing towards Oxygen, as the country faced severe shortage of medical Oxygen. Under the movement restrictions in the country, demand from downstream sectors slumped, which later improved during the quarter ending. Eventually, prices of Nitrogen in India bounced back and reached USD 480.5/MT in the final week of June.
Surge in regional demand from downstream Ammonia based fertilizers, led to a plausible rise in price of upstream Nitrogen within the quarter. This rise was driven by firm offtakes from agrochemicals sectors amidst the supply shortage across the region. During April, imports of several products reduced from USA which pressured domestic manufacturers to enhance their production to satisfy the overall demand. The move eventually led to an increase in demand and prices for Nitrogen in the regional market.
For the Quarter Ending March 2021
During Q1 2021, Asia region sustained its fair recovery in industrial activities with respect to the prior quarter. Improved production and increased availability halted the price acceleration of Bulk Nitrogen and it thus experienced a price downfall across the region. The demand from metal fabrications remained low in several APAC countries, which led to fall in demand for Nitrogen in metal fabrication sector. Similarly, in India, the automotive sector was bearing losses during Q1 2021, although it showed marginal improvement during January. Due to rapid rise in COVID 19 cases and partial lockdowns implements in various states of India, the demand for bulk Nitrogen failed to sustain its pace. Likewise, in Chinese market, metal fabrication sector and automotive sector remained low and hence the ample availability reduced the prices of Bulk Nitrogen.
Despite of numerous efforts to regain the industrial activities, North America region faced astonishing downfall in the industrial sector during Q1 2021. Metal fabrication sector remained on low pace, due to tumbling demand from downstream sector like automobiles and constructions in various parts of North America region. Texas winter storm also halted the various plant activities across the region which reduced the demand for carrier gases and Nitrogen from agrochemical sector.
During Q1 2021, sales from metal manufacturing and agrochemicals sectors remained stable with respect to Q4 2020. Although, vaccination drives across the region enhanced the market sentiments, but it was not enough to lay a significant impact upon the market dynamics. However, shortage of shipping containers during Q1 and Suez Canal blockage during March ending, increased the prices of Nitrogen and its derivative products.
For the Quarter Ending December 2020
During Q4 2020, the overall recovery of Asia was deemed as good, and industries were getting a boost to come on track again. Air Liquide, one of the leading bulk gas suppliers across the world, revealed that they have experienced maximum growth in sales from China of around 10% due to the recovery observed in the metal fabrication sector and automotive in Q4. In addition, 10% growth was witnessed in carrier gases and advance materials sector which positively impacted the demand for Nitrogen. Despite prospects for pick-up in demand from the country’s steel industry, liquid Nitrogen pricing in India was averaged around USD 535 per tonne during the quarter ending December 2020.
Despite of experiencing steady growth in various industrial activities, the sales to the industrial sectors like metal fabrication and automotive remained low. However, in comparison to the previous year the position of metal manufacturing industry in the region was seemed to improve. With gradual revival in the metal fabrication industry towards the end of Q4, demand for bulk Nitrogen from gas blanketing and laser cutting segments also improved. Nucor, a leading steel manufacturer in USA revealed that their overall demand for bulk gases increased by around 7% from Q3 to Q4, thereby indicating towards a positive demand for industrial Nitrogen.
Sales of metal manufacturing & fabrication materials showed an appreciable revival during Q4 2020, which caused a direct impact on the demand of Nitrogen in Europe. Air Liquide experienced a strong demand for liquid gases from the eastern European region, specially from Poland and Russia. Thus, in comparison to Q4 2019, the overall prices of Liquid Nitrogen surged by 1.7 per cent in the same period this year.