European gas prices, a key driver of fertiliser prices for farmers, have been falling sharply in recent days.
Additional gas supplies, which had been destined for Asia but re-routed to Europe to take advantage of higher prices, are one of the drivers of the fall.
However, warmer weather and lower demand are also factors in the recent cooling of the red-hot market.
The TTF, Europe’s wholesale gas price, peaked at €180.27 per megawatt hour on 21 December but has fallen to 87.97 on Thursday evening. It fell by almost 9% on Thursday alone.
However, European gas prices are still three times higher than the same time last year.
Rory Deverell, a risk management consultant with FC Stone, commenting on social media, said he hoped the sharp fall in EU gas price would get nitrogen fertiliser back going and result in lower fertiliser prices ahead of the spring.
However, he warned of issues that “can still can haunt EU farmers this spring”, describing the whole supply chain as “broken” and warning that shut or reduced capacity fertiliser plants mean reduced availability in spring.
“Then the bigger issue is the farmer won’t buy at these prices; typical local importers/merchants of fertiliser are scared to buy it, fearing a price drop.
“They can/should hedge but most don’t/don’t know how. So the supply chain has a pricing issue too. Not just physical.”