The world is looking at a fertilizer shortage, with prices increasing 200% on ammonia. This spells disaster for family farms.
October saw enduring downtime for ammonia production as several U.S. Gulf nitrogen plants remained offline from Hurricane Ida. Dyno Nobel’s facility at Waggaman and Mosaic’s Faustina complex remained down through September and much of October, while CF at Donaldsonville came back online in the past month. CF Port Neal meanwhile began turnaround last month which is expected to finish in the second half of November.
Ammonia prices have skyrocketed in the Midwest, with Koch announcing new levels as high as $1,100 per short ton (t) free-on-board (FOB) at its Corn Belt terminals and plants — a near two-fold increase on prices of $650 to $680 in the Midwest seen at the end September. CF and other producers and sellers in the region followed Koch, with CF setting a new price in the Northern Plains and Iowa of $1,200/t FOB for overpull delivery volumes.
The majority of fall buying was said to have been concluded at the previously mentioned lower levels, but buyers that opted to wait will be left with little option but to pay the higher and uniformly $1,000+ per ton levels.
Given increasing achieved prices on ammonia in the U.S. late in October after a strong Tampa settlement, we expect U.S. ammonia prices to remain firm.
In the highest price settlement at Tampa for 13 years, Yara and Mosaic agreed to a price of $825 per metric ton (mt) cost and freight (CFR) for November ammonia deliveries. The increase is attributed in part to the current high level of demand from Europe, where ammonia producers have curtailed operations as they combat high gas costs. The recent increase in ammonia prices in the United States was also a contributing factor.