Fertiliser markets remain extremely volatile, resulting in prices for CAN rising by another £15 to £20/t, which comes on the back of a £70/t price hike earlier this month.
Price quotes currently range from £750/t on older stocks to £790/t for orders placed this week. At the start of September, CAN could be purchased between £680/t and £700/t.
Urea is generally moving around £850/t to £880/t, depending on when existing stocks were purchased.
While urea is more expensive than CAN on a per tonne basis, it is much better value per unit of nitrogen spread.
One tonne of CAN purchased at £780/t works out at 288p/unit of nitrogen, whereas one tonne of urea costing £880/t works out 191p/unit of nitrogen, 33% cheaper than CAN.
Outside of straight nitrogen, there is a wide range in prices for grassland compounds, with quotes starting at £780 and rising to £840/t.
High fertiliser prices are linked to the surge in wholesale gas costs, and that has brought a 70% reduction in fertiliser manufacturing capacity within Europe.
With manufacturers winding down production lines, it has created a shortage of product that is currently expected to last into the early stages of 2023.
Merchants have experienced a mini-sales boom over the past six weeks as farmers looked to forward-buy fertiliser for 2023.
Although price quotes are changing frequently, most merchants indicate they can cover existing orders at the outlined prices.
However, they are taking a very cautious approach when forward-buying to replenish stocks and demanding payment in full when customers place an order.
With sales showing signs of tailing off, a number said they are fearful of being left with large volumes of unsold fertiliser over winter.
Despite the recent lift in sales, they also estimate that overall fertiliser sales are down 30% to 40% in 2022.