Market Morsel: Urea nowhere near the highs

Inputs | 2nd April 2024 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

It’s April. The month when Australia will start to plant this season’s crop. Over the coming months, hopefully, we will have rainfall to encourage growers to use urea. So a short update to put on imports and pricing.

So let’s look at imports. The currently available data is only up to the end of January, but more will come out in the coming weeks.

The first chart shows the imports for January, going back to 2011. The light blue part of the bar is a theoretical volume which would have come from the mothballed Gibson Island urea plant. This is to give an indication of overall supply (imports and domestic).

If we look at January, it was the second-highest January import month since 2019. This comes off the back of a record import year in 2023.

The thing everyone cares about is the cost of urea. The second chart shows our modelled import urea price (darker colour) to the end of March, and we also have the actual average import price.

This shows that, generally, our modelling follows the actual price with a very strong correlation.

The heady prices of recent years have gone, and prices are back closer to the longer-term average.