Global urea prices have been falling since September last year and are now close to pre-war levels.

Egyptian urea is now trading at the equivalent of €385/t, down from the equivalent of €855/t at the start of September.

According to market analysts, there is ample availability of urea among major exporting regions for February shipment. However, buyers are standing back as the market continues to fall.

The global ammonia market fell sharply last week, taking the benchmark price of the nitrogen input back to levels of late 2021.

Production curtailments in Europe last year, as a result of high and volatile natural gas prices, supported higher international ammonia prices due to European import demand.

What this means for farmers

All indicators suggest that as importers go to the market this spring, they will be buying at substantially lower prices than last year.

European natural gas prices have fallen to pre-war levels, global ammonia and urea prices have fallen sharply with reports of ample supply, and fertiliser bulk freight rates are reported to have fallen back to almost pre-COVID-19 levels.

This all points to lower farm gate prices.

Of course, importers and merchants have already bought an amount of product in autumn at higher prices which will impact domestic prices.

However, strong returns last year in the fertiliser supply chain should cover at least some of this risk for merchants and importers.