There’s not much good news in the outlook for diesel prices.

While the fuel is well back from the peak seen last year, the current level may be the lowest we see for a while.

The European ban on diesel imports from Russia comes into effect on 5 February. Once again, there are strikes at French refineries which are key to European supply, while US refineries, which have been trading across the Atlantic, are set to enter maintenance season, reducing output from there.

Adding to supply fears are comments from Green Party leader Eamon Ryan last month that the Government is not likely to extend the excise duty cuts on fuel beyond the current deadline of 28 February.

If those measures roll off, it will instantly add 5.4c to a litre of agri-diesel.

Gas market

There’s some better news in the gas market, where wintry weather in Europe has not caused a jump in prices.

Stockpiles remain near record-high levels for the time of year, meaning there should be no more disruption to European fertiliser manufacturing.

This is reflected in the benchmark Green Markets North American fertiliser price index, which last week dropped to the lowest level since mid-2021.