Market Morsel: Australia breaking urea records (again)

Inputs | 26th June 2024 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

EP3 is the only independent Australian company which provides unbiased analysis on the Australian fertilizer space. All stakeholders in the industry don’t always welcome this, but as one of the biggest costs for Australian croppers, it is important that we continue to do this work.

In recent years, we have all heard about the unavailability of urea. It seems that every year, we are going to be short. Last year, we reported on the volume of imports throughout the year, and 2023 was a record year for imports.

This year is shaping up to be a strong import year as well. In the first chart below, we can see the cumulative imports of urea from January to April, which is the most up-to-date import data.

To the end of April, 1.14 million tonnes of urea has been imported, a record for the first four months.

Australia used to produce urea, but the Gibson Island facility was closed down. There are new planned facilities, but they have yet to produce any volume for Australia.

The second chart compares the Jan-April period going back to 2011. I have included the estimates for Gibson Island for the same period when this facility was operating.

As we can see, the volumes are significantly higher than any prior year. As the data becomes available, we will report on the imports, but the volume coming into Australia is substantial.