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Urea Fertilizer Market and Price Analysis

Nitrogen is by far the largest of the three primary nutrients required by plants for strong and heathy growth. Urea is the most widely used nitrogen fertilizer in the world, accounting for some 62% of global demand for this key nutrient.

Key facts about the urea fertilizer market
  • Over 170 million tonnes of urea are produced and consumed annually.
  • China alone accounts for some 30% of global production and demand, making it by far the world’s largest producer and consumer of urea.
  • The Middle East is the world’s largest exporting region, with exports of over 18 million tonnes, 32% of the 2019 world total of 51 million tonnes.
  • Imports are dominated by India and Brazil, which together sourced almost 14 million tonnes of urea in 2019. Imports to the US, formerly the second largest world importer, have fallen sharply since 2015 in the wake of a wave of new projects there which have added nearly 5 million tonnes per year to the country’s capacity base.
  • China, as the world’s swing supplier, sets the floor price in the market, while producers in Europe have over the past year seen dramatically improved economics following a sharp fall in the region’s gas prices in 2019.
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Key themes affecting the urea fertilizer market

The urea market has been deeply affected by the broader dynamics affecting the nitrogen industry: higher feedstock costs in key regions, and the resulting impact on prices. The geography of the impact is however considerably different: urea is not as significant a nitrogen fertilizer for example in Europe (where nitrates are preferred), and most producers in the Middle East experienced limited (if any) price pressure.

The unexpected retreat of China from export markets in Q4 2021 caused significant reasons for concern, balancing out the impact of emerging new capacity in India which would reduce significantly global imports.

While not in any sense “imminent”, urea demand faces a considerable threat in the long term given its carbon content. A full replacement is unlikely in key markets and appears implausible (notably China and India, jointly accounting for 47% of global demand), yet sharper dynamics could be observed in the United States and Europe (joint demand share: 12%). Technologies based on “circular” carbon from organic sources offer an alternative route – yet the pace and commercial success of such developments will remain a key variable to track.

Key Urea indicators
Baltic fob, $/tChina fob, $/tUS imports, ‘000t/yChina exports, ‘000t/y
201722524361264683
201826129554502453
201924626953204689
202022626944235540
202146425453574663

Solutions

At IHS Markit we offer market-leading ammonia fertilizer information solutions via our globally recognised Fertecon service. Specialists in offering comprehensive data and analysis across the global fertilizer market, with current, short-term and long-term solutions to support all operational needs in your organisation.

Current price reports
Weekly Report

Keep abreast of the urea market and spot new opportunities with our weekly market report. Key benefits include reliable price discovery, news on key developments, and trade statistics and news alerts.

More About Our Methodology
Short-term price forecasts
Monthly Futures Report

Plan for the mid-term and make smarter investment decisions with our urea market intelligence. Key benefits include global market overview, major company news, and trade statistics alerts.

Long-term market outlooks
Quarterly Market Reports

Steer your business in the right strategic direction with this in-depth quarterly report on the urea market, forecasting out 10 years. Key benefits include comprehensive market analysis, price, supply demand and trade forecasts, and coverage of hot topics.

Bespoke solutions
API and Data Feeds

Pricing, supply-demand and forecasts on the urea market delivered directly to your organisation to support centralised models and trading systems used by team members across your business.

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One-time Data Exports

Over three decades of historical urea pricing, production and trade data across all core nutrients available to purchase to support your organisation with strategic analysis and economic modelling.

Consulting

Consulting services spanning all your needs in the fertilizer markets, from long-term forecasting beyond what is available in our subscription services to market studies for financial investments reviewing everything from market forecasts to competitor intelligence.

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