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Ammonia supply down on lower natural gas supplies: trader

Highlights

FOB Middle East price up to $715/mt

CFR USGC, NW Europe prices rise

Ammonia supplies out of the Black Sea remain scarce as prices continue upward, trade sources said Oct. 29.

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Finding cargoes to deliver into Europe remains a challenge, as gas supplies have been less than expected in recent months, a European trader said. Natural gas is the primary feedstock for ammonia production.

"In the Black Sea, [there are] no availabilities due to low pump rates from Russia," the trader said.

On Oct. 28, S&P Global Platts had reported a trade at $905/mt CFR Baltic for a 15,000 mt vessel, reportedly sold for second-half November delivery.

The deal was confirmed Oct. 29, with 5.5% import duties paid. Platts assessed the CFR NW Europe duty free price at $850/mt Friday, up $75/mt from the prior day, based on the reported deal and market indications at around that level.

The Black Sea market remained quiet, with another trade source reportedly out of supply until mid-November. A US-based trader noted prices were on the rise generally with no let up in sight approaching winter gas demand season.

"At some point, a $1,000/mt sale going into Europe is going to be inevitable," the trader said.

Middle East prices also were on the rise with a deal heard at $715/mt FOB Middle East loading H2 November.

Platts assessed the FOB Middle East price at $715/mt, up $145/mt from Oct. 28, based on the reported deal and market indications.

US markets also continued strengthening this month, with inland prices close to $1,200/st. The CFR Tampa November contract settled at $825/mt, up $160/mt from the prior month contract.

Another US ammonia buyer was heard to have purchased roughly 4,500 mt of ammonia for November delivery via barge from New Orleans at a delivered price of $1,030/st.

Platts assessed the CFR USGC price at $925/mt, up $90/mt from the prior day, based on reported inland values at New Orleans minus freight and throughput costs to basis port Tampa.