Global Ag News for Nov 20.23
Top Ethanol Maker May Shun Green Jet Fuel Over Policy Issues
- Poet executive says significant future projects are at stake
- Biofuel industry is awaiting US Treasury tax credit guidance
Poet LLC, the world’s biggest maker of corn ethanol, says it could be forced to walk away from the nascent sustainable aviation fuel market if US policy freezes out the industry.
“We have had significant incoming interest to develop new, low-carbon projects with airlines and fuel producers in the SAF market,” Robert Walther, Poet’s vice president for federal advocacy, said in an e-mailed statement. “But one of the biggest factors in determining economic feasibility is the value of tax credits under consideration in the White House.”
Biofuel producers hoping to profit from increasing demand for green jet fuel are urging the Biden administration to help them take full advantage of tax credits in the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a raft of incentives aimed at shifting the US to a net-zero emissions energy economy. At issue is disagreement over how to track emissions from SAF, which can be made from a wide array of materials, including ethanol.
Some companies, including Poet, are pushing for an approach used by the US Energy Department that would give credit for carbon sequestered in soil even after crops are removed. Environmentalists seek an alternative pioneered by the United Nations that opponents contend is outdated and could prevent some ethanol-based SAF production from qualifying for the tax credits.
“I want to be wrong given what is at stake, but at the end of the day if there is minimal to no value to the credit for us, we likely cannot operate in this space,” Walther said. “Moreover, I think the political support needed for a more durable SAF policy withers away.”
FUTURES & WEATHER
Markets finished last week with wheat prices down 27 in SRW, down 27 1/2 in HRW, down 13 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 6 1/2; Soybeans down 36 1/2; Soymeal down $23.00; Soyoil up 0.85.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 10 in SRW, down 16 3/4 in HRW, up 1 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 6 3/4; Soybeans up 35 1/2; Soymeal up $12.80; Soyoil up 0.72.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 30.6% in SRW, down 30.8% in HRW, down 24.1% in HRS; Corn is down 31.0%; Soybeans down 11.4%; Soymeal down 6.5%; Soyoil down 18.1%.
Chinese Ag futures (JAN 24) Soybeans up 17 yuan; Soymeal down 71; Soyoil down 32; Palm oil down 42; Corn up 19 — Malaysian Palm is up 5. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 5 ringgit (+0.13%) at 3936.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 2,950 SRW Wheat contracts; 594 Oats; 4 Corn; 596 Soybeans; 62 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 400 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of November 17 were: SRW Wheat up 555 contracts, HRW Wheat down 1,455, Corn down 2,792, Soybeans down 3,454, Soymeal up 6,444, Soyoil down 2,811.
Brazil: Heavy rain from the south started to work northward this weekend. Those showers will be more typical of the wet season rains in central Brazil all week long. Deficits are large here and will take more than a week’s worth of normal rainfall to turn around. Showers do look to become more isolated for next week. Another round of heavier rain will move back into southern Brazil midweek. Any breaks from the wet pattern are still looking to be short across the south, also unfavorable for developing corn and soybeans.
Argentina: Showers were more limited this weekend. A front will move through Tuesday and Wednesday with scattered showers but then be drier again until next week. Though the dryness is not welcome, soil conditions are more favorable than they were earlier this year or in previous years, a good turn around in conditions. As long as the drier weather does not last too long, the overall favorable conditions continue.
Australia: Scattered showers fell over eastern areas over the weekend, helping to ease extremely dry conditions in a lot of this part of the country. It is too late for wheat and canola, but will help cotton and sorghum. These showers continue all this week.
Northern Plains: A system tracking to the south was close enough to get some rain into South Dakota on Sunday. Some showers may continue over the eastern Dakotas on Monday, but it is looking drier, even with a cold front sagging south on Wednesday. That front could bring some highland snow and a sharp drop in temperatures below normal. A reinforcing shot of colder air is possible this weekend into next week.
Central/Southern Plains: A system moved into the region on Sunday and brought widespread showers. Those showers largely missed drier western wheat areas, unfavorable for wheat there. But other eastern areas saw good rainfall. The rain pulls out on Monday. Another system may bring showers to southern areas late in the week and a cold front dropping south could bring highland snow and a burst of much colder air for the weekend into next week.
Midwest: A system brought showers into southwestern areas on Sunday with a system that will push northeast through much of the region early this week. A stronger cold front will move through later this week with a burst of colder air. Models disagree if the front will produce precipitation. Any precipitation now will delay the remaining harvest and fieldwork but increase soil moisture for winter wheat before it goes dormant.
The player sheet for Nov. 17 had funds: net sellers of 2,000 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 6,000 corn, sellers of 9,500 soybeans, sellers of 6,000 soymeal, and buyers of 2,000 soyoil.
- CORN SALE: South Korea’s Major Feedmill Group (MFG) has purchased an estimated 68,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in a private deal without issuing an international tender, European traders said on Friday. It can be sourced from optional worldwide origins excluding the Black Sea region.
- FEED WHEAT SALE: South Korea’s Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased about 115,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat in a private deal on Friday without issuing an international tender
- DURUM SALE: Tunisia’s state grains agency is believed to have purchased about 25,000 metric tons of durum wheat in an international tender on Friday
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins.
- SOYBEAN TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. has issued international tenders to purchase around 50,000 metric tons of food-quality soybeans free of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)
- CORN AND SOYMEAL TENDER: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued international tenders to purchase up to 180,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 120,000 tons of soymeal
- CORN TENDER: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group has issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn which can be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa
- BARLEY TENDER: Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has issued an international tender to buy a nominal 50,000 metric tons of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins
US Cattle on Feed Rose to 11.93M Head on Nov. 1
The feedlot herd rose 1.7% from a year ago, according to the USDA’s monthly report. Analysts were expecting a rise of 2%
- Placements onto feedlots up 3.8% to 2.164m head
- Cattle marketed from feedlots declined 2.5% to 1.758m head
China’s Oct soybean imports from Brazil surge 71% from a year ago
China’s soybean imports from Brazil rose 71% in October from a year ago, data showed on Monday, boosted by cheaper prices following a bumper crop in the South American nation.
China imported 4.81 million metric tons of the oilseed from Brazil last month, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Record Brazilian soybean supplies are expected to lead China’s imports in the last three months of 2023, a period typically dominated by freshly harvested U.S soybeans, traders and analysts said in early November.
October arrivals from the United States, China’s second-largest supplier, shrank to 228,264 tons from 772,787 tons a year ago.
China’s purchases from the United States had been well below the normal pace this year but the world’s largest soybean importer has in recent weeks booked large U.S cargoes in a wave of buying.
The flurry of soy import deals coincides with uneven weather that has marred the start of the soy growing season in Brazil, the world’s largest soybean supplier.
Total imports by China in October were 5.16 million tons.
For the first 10 months of 2023, China has imported 59.68 million tons of Brazilian soybeans, up 21% compared with the same period last year.
Total U.S. imports so far this year are down 1.8% at 18.78 million metric tons, the data also showed.
Corn imports from Brazil in October were at 1.8 million tons, accounting for most of the total October corn arrivals of 2.04 million tons.
Brazil Farmers Plant 68.93% Of 2023/2024 Soybean Area Versus 80.16% At This Time Last Year – Patria Agronegocios
BRAZIL FARMERS PLANT 68.93% OF 2023/2024 SOYBEAN AREA VERSUS 80.16% AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR – PATRIA AGRONEGOCIOS
Brazil farmers forced to replace soy with cotton as dry weather takes toll
Extremely dry weather is forcing farmers to give up on soy to plant cotton or another crop in Brazil’s top farm state Mato Grosso, cotton lobby groups and growers said.
Mato Grosso cultivates two annual cotton crops, one during the soy season and another after soy is reaped from fields.
But because soy farmers have reeled from lack of rains, they may switch crops and thus expand the area to be planted with first cotton in 2023, Decio Tocantins, director at state cotton growers group AMPA, said on Friday.
“On a regular year, first cotton represents 10% to 13% of plantings in Mato Grosso but this year should reach 20%,” he said.
Mato Grosso’s total cotton area will rise by 8% to about 1.3 million hectares in 2023/24, AMPA’s chief added.
Alexandre Schenkel, head of national cotton lobby Abrapa, reveled last week some farmers would consider planting a single crop if soy became “inviable,” a tendency gaining momentum.
“There are farmers here destroying areas with soybeans because the stand is very low,” grower Jose Fernandes, in Mato Grosso’s municipality of Sapezal, said. “They are preparing the soil for planting cotton or even corn,” he said citing his neighbors’ drought stricken-soy.
Fernandes himself is waiting for forecast rains next week to decide what to do on his own farm.
“Some soybeans were looking very bad and hence were destroyed,” said Claudio Scarioti, another Sapezal farmer. He projects a potential 20% loss for the soy in the area, noting farmers will re-evaluate damage after next week’s showers to decide next steps.
In the south of Mato Grosso, growers typically start planting first cotton from Dec. 1 and in the mid-north from Dec. 15, Tocantins said.
The state produces 2 million tons of cotton lint in a year, or two-thirds of Brazil’s production, according to AMPA data.
Argentine farmers: Milei victory an opportunity for ‘radical change’ for grains sector
Javier Milei’s election as Argentine president offers an opportunity for “radical change” in policy for the grains sector, the country’s main rural associations said late on Sunday, offering to work “side by side” with the libertarian.
Argentina is one of the world’s top exporters of soy, corn, wheat and beef. However, its grains and livestock producers have been asking for the elimination of taxes and caps that they blame for crimping grain and meat exports for years.
Milei, a far-right libertarian, is pledging to reduce the size of the state and cut taxes. He also wants to eventually close the central bank and dollarize the economy – more radical ideas that he may struggle to implement.
“A great opportunity has opened up to work together to make radical change to the current policies,” the Argentine Rural Society (SRA) said in a statement.
The South American country is in a deep economic crisis with triple-digit inflation, an array of capital controls which hurt trade and a lack of foreign currency reserves.
CONINAGRO, another of the major agricultural associations in Argentina, said in a statement that “we are at the beginning of a new stage, which we hope will bring well-being to all Argentines,” congratulating the president-elect.
Meanwhile, the Argentine Rural Confederations (CRA) called for Milei to work with the farm sector and demanded tax deregulation.
Argentina May Increase Commodity Heft as Milei Ascends
Argentina’s role in global commodity markets may be set to expand after Javier Milei captured the presidency promising a wave of a radical, libertarian reform, though doubts remain about his ability to deliver on his agenda.
His ascendancy could pave the way for increased shipments of gas, oil, lithium, and agricultural commodities too if export restrictions and currency rules are jettisoned in a wave of deregulation as planned. Milei, whose campaign has vowed to rescue a beleaguered agricultural sector, has touted ditching the peso for the US dollar.
But transformation would be drawn-out and, at best, bumpy. Milei would need to maintain the social cohesion necessary to attract long-term investment, including from miners eyeing its lithium reserves. And he can rely on only a handful of representatives in a fragmented congress.
CORN/CEPEA: Prices remain increasing and return to May/23 levels
Corn prices continue to move up in the Brazilian market, influenced by the fact that sellers are refrained. They are focused on weather conditions, which has been affecting the summer crop sowing activities, and on the firm pace of exports.
As for the demand, many consumers are willing to trade in the spot market, but a part of them expects the crop to advance more and the possible need to open room in warehouses and/or to make cash flow. In this scenario, only a few trades have been closed.
The ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Index (Campinas, SP) closed at BRL 61.14 (USD 12.56)/bag on November 16, for an increase of 2.7% compared to that on Nov. 9 – returning to levels observed in May this year, in nominal terms.
In regional terms, the upward trend prevails, especially where producers prefer to export, such as Sorocabana and Itapeva, in São Paulo. In the Central-West, on the other hand, the high second crop production limits price rises – some producers still have volume to trade. In the South, the excess of rain in Rio Grande do Sul and in Santa Catarina concerns producers and reduces the supply.
Between Nov. 9 and 16, on the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, corn prices moved up 1.7% in the wholesale market (deals between processors) and 2.9% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers).
Values increased at ports, due to international valuations and the firm demand from abroad. Price rises were not more intense because of the dollar devaluation against Real (+1.2%), at BRL 4.86 on Nov. 16.
In the first seven working days of November, 2.39 million tons were exported, which represents 40% of the total shipped in November/22, according to data from Secex. In case the current pace continues, Brazil may export more than 7 million tons, below the projection from Anec, between 8.2 to 8.44 million tons.
CROPS – In general, 2023/24 crop activities are advancing in some areas, although they are delayed in others because of unfavorable weather conditions. Conab indicates that sowing activities reached 45.8% of the area until Nov. 11, a delay of 8.1 percentage points compared to the season before.
SOYBEAN/CEPEA: Firm demand from the industry boosts soy oil prices in Brazil
Soybean oil prices upped in the domestic market this week, influenced by the higher demand from the Brazilian industry. Moreover, expectations of an increase of exports to India have also been influencing price rises – the country is the biggest global importer of soybean oil and it is trying to boost trades with Brazil. From the total product shipped this year (1.956 million tons), 57% were sent to India, according to Secex. As a result, soybean oil export premium hit the highest level since August/22.
This week, soybean oil prices returned to levels verified in April this year in São Paulo. From Nov. 9-16, quotations rose 5.3%, at BRL 5,582.52 per ton (in São Paulo city with 12% ICMS) on Nov. 16.
As for soybean meal, the competition between purchasers in Brazil and in the international market has been fierce this week, boosting values of the national product. It is important to mention that Brazil has already shipped a record amount this year, of 18.8 million tons, according to Secex. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, soy meal prices increased 2.7% between Nov. 9 and 16.
Concerning soybean, prices have risen this week in Brazil, influenced by the firm demand, especially from the crushing industry. Moreover, the irregular volume of rainfall may reduce the 2023/24 productivity in Brazil, mainly in the Central-West, according to players surveyed by Cepea.
Between Nov. 9-16, the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa soybean Index (Paranaguá) and the CEPEA/ESALQ Index (Paraná) upped 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively, to BRL 144.59 per 60-kg bag (USD 29.70)/bag and BRL 138.74 (USD 28.50)/bag on Nov. 16. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, prices increased 1.1% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers) and 0.9% in the wholesale market (deals between processors).
Future contracts for soybean and byproducts have upped this week at CME Group, due to unfavorable weather conditions for crops in Brazil. Moreover, the devaluation of dollar quotations against several currencies has also influenced price rises – in this scenario, the US product becomes more attractive to importers. >From Nov. 9-16, dollar values downed 1.2% against Real, closing at BRL 4.868 on Nov. 16.
CROPS – Conab indicates that the soybean planting hit 57.6% of the area in Brazil until November 11, below the 66% verified a year ago.
PROJECTIONS CONFIRM WEATHER IMPACTS ON BOTH PRODUCTION AND QUALITY IN BR
The impacts of unfavorable weather conditions on wheat crops in Southern Brazil have been confirmed by official estimates released in mid-November. In world terms, projections also indicate supply decreases.
According to a report released by Conab in November, the new wheat crop in Brazil may total 9.63 million tons, for a decrease of 7.9% compared to the report released in October and 8.7% less than the record registered last crop (10.55 million tons). This scenario is verified despite the area increase of 12.1% in relation to the previous season, to 3.46 million hectares. Therefore, the lower production is related to the productivity decrease, estimated at 2.78 tons per hectare, downing 7.9% against last month report and 18.6% below that verified in 2022 (3.42 tons per hectare) – data from Conab.
Imports, in turn, are estimated by Conab at 5.4 million tons for the period from August 2023 to July 2024 (+400 thousand tons). The domestic availability dropped 2.6% compared to the previous report and is forecast at 15.7 million tons between August/23 and July/24, for a decrease of 0.1% against last season.
The consumption remains estimated by Conab at 12.64 million tons, 2% higher than the estimate for the previous season (from August/22 to July/23). Exports continue forecast at 2.6 million tons. As a result, ending stocks, by July/24, would be reduced to 531.9 thousand tons, downing 28.2%in relation to the crop before.
In global terms, the USDA indicates a production decrease, now forecast at 781.98 million tons, 0.2% less compared to that estimated in October and 1% below the season before.
PRICES – Wheat values upped significantly in Brazil, boosted by the production decrease and the low quality, which can affect the production of high-quality wheat flour.
CROPS – Conab says that the harvest reached 71.8% in Brazil until November 4, and activities need to be finished in the South of the country.
Ukraine can harvest 18-20 mln T winter wheat in 2024 – deputy minister
Ukraine can potentially harvest 18 to 20 million metric tons of winter wheat in 2024 after farmers sowed around 4 million hectares (9.9 million acres) of the crop, a senior farm ministry official said.
The first deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy told national television that the output would provide the population with enough bread as annual domestic consumption does not exceed 6.5 million tons.
Farmers sowed 4.46 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2023 harvest and harvested 22.2 million tons of wheat in bunker weight.
Ukraine is expected to harvest 79 million metric tons of grain and oilseed in 2023, with a 2023/24 exportable surplus of about 50 million tons, the ministry has said.
Ukrainian Danube Ports Doubled Cargo Handling Despite Attacks
Ukrainian Danube river ports increased cargo handling in first 10 months of the year to 27.6 million tons, 2.2 times more than same period last year, Ukrainian Sea Ports Administration said on Facebook.
- In Jan.-Oct. period of this year and 2022, ports handled 40.2 million tons of cargo including 18.3 million tons of grain
- Ukrainian Danube corridor is working, and the country maintains stable freight traffic level, Ports Administration said, citing its chief Yuriy Lytvyn
- Investment projects are being implemented with businesses and partners, including USAID, JICA, EMSA, as well as governments of the US, France, Japan and the European Commission
- NOTE: Russia, after its breaking up of the UN-Ukraine-Turkey Black Sea Grain deal, started heavy drone and missile attacks on Danube ports of Izmail and Reni, which became one of the main routes for Ukrainian agrarian exports. There were more than a dozen of attacks in recent months, causing damage to port infrastructure and losses to farmers
Global soybean production in 2023/24 MY will be a record high – IGC
The global soybean production in 2023/24 MY may increase to a record 395 mln tonnes. This forecast was published by the analysts of the International Grain Council (IGC) in their November report, increasing the estimate for the month by another 2 mln tonnes. Thus, the harvest of the oilseed is expected to increase by more than 7% (367 mln tonnes) in 2022/23 MY.
Experts believe that the increase will be due to the improvement of soybean harvest in South America: in particular, the possible recovery of production in Argentina and a new record in Brazil.
Moreover, according to IGC, in the new season, the global consumption of beans is expected to increase significantly to a new historical high – from 359 mln tons (2022/23 MY) to 386 mln tons. The demand for the oilseed will grow not only from the food sector, but also from the biofuel sector, especially in the US, the industry association is confident. The basis for this will be created primarily due to the increase in oilseed processing in Argentina.
The global soybean exports for 2023/24 MY are estimated at 172 mln tonnes, up from 168 mln tonnes a year earlier. The trade will decline due to the decline in supplies to China and Argentina. However, the Brazilian exports are expected to grow as the shipments from the US decrease.
Cargill-Hired Wheat Ship Suffers Blast Sailing From Ukraine
A ship hired by agricultural giant Cargill Inc. was damaged by an explosion while sailing from a Ukrainian port in the Black Sea late on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said.
The cause of the damage was not immediately confirmed, but the person said the incident was not initiated on board. The vessel, which was carrying a cargo of wheat, wasn’t severely damaged and is now heading to Constanta in Romania for further inspection.
The incident is another reminder of the risks of sailing via Ukraine’s temporary grain corridor, coming days after another vessel was hit by a Russian missile strike. Still, ships continued to transport commodities from deep-sea ports in Greater Odesa after that attack.
The person with knowledge of the matter said all crew members were safe and that the vessel was able to sail under its own power to the Romanian port.
Despite the war, Ukraine is harvesting bigger-than-expected crops. The blast highlights the challenges of getting those grains to the global market.
Cargill didn’t respond to a request for comment. Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
US Pork Production Up 3.2% This Week, Beef Rises: USDA
US federally inspected pork production rises to 564m pounds for the week ending Nov. 18 from 546m in the previous week, according to USDA estimates published on the agency’s website.
- Hog slaughter up 2.8% from a week ago to 2.649m head
- Beef production up 2.9% from a week ago, cattle slaughter rises 2.9%
- For the year, beef production is 5.3% below last year’s level at this time, and pork is 0.4% above
River Rhine in south Germany still closed to shipping due to high water
Parts of the river Rhine in south Germany remain closed to shipping on Monday after a rise in water levels following recent heavy rain, navigation authorities said on Monday.
Rhine river shipping remains stopped around Maxau in south Germany, the German inland waterways navigation agency WSA said.
Water levels are falling but not as fast as hoped. The southern sector of the river was closed on Wednesday.
High water means vessels do not have enough space to sail under bridges and the blockage prevents vessels sailing to Switzerland. Shipping on northern sections of the river is operating normally including the important points of Duisburg, Cologne and Mannheim.
Falling water levels mean the river is expected to reopen to shipping on Tuesday afternoon, said the water level forecasting service of the Rheinland-Pfalz state government in south Germany.
The Rhine is an important shipping route for commodities including minerals, coal and oil products such as heating oil, grains and animal feed.
The Rhine has repeatedly suffered from low water levels because of unusually dry summers in recent years.
Rhine Rises 1.46 Meters Over 3 Days at Kaub; Barge Rates Flat
Rhine water levels at Kaub, a bottleneck point on Europe’s key industrial waterway, rose by 1.46 meters over the past three days, reaching the highest since July 21, 2021, according to Germany’s Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration.
- Barge clearance at Kaub, a measure of water depth, was 5.03 on Saturday versus 4.80 on Friday night
- Cost of shipping gasoil on barges to Basel, Switzerland was 36 Swiss francs/ton on Nov. 17 vs 36 Swiss francs/ton on Nov. 16
- Note: Low river levels risk grounding while high waters can prevent travel under some bridges
- Two key bottleneck points along the Rhine are Kaub, which is west of Frankfurt, and Maxau, which is near Karlsruhe in south-west Germany
- Technical gauges of river depth are used to determine loading capacity restrictions for barges, which vary depending on vessel size and type
Black Sea Nitrogen Fertilizer Price Drops 5.71%
Nitrogen fertilizer, represented by Black Sea urea, fell 5.71% to $330 per metric ton in the week ended Nov. 17, according to Green Markets data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.
- Black Sea urea dropped 8.33% during the last month and was down 5.71% during the last 3 months
- Major Urea nitrogen benchmark prices were mixed
- Shares of Yara International ASA were up, while Acron PJSC was down in the latest week
- Major UAN nitrogen benchmark prices were mixed
- Major Ammonia nitrogen benchmark prices were unchanged
- Natural gas, which drives producer costs, has decreased 3.6% during the last week and was down 16% during the last month
- The price of corn, a driver of fertilizer purchases, increased 1.6% during the last week and was down 3.4% during the last month
Nitrogen Lull Continues, Yet China Export Curbs Help Balance
Global nitrogen buying eased after India’s latest urea tender, which should sate its appetite for a month at least. Our scenario suggests soybeans could prevail in farmers’ plans for 2024, pushing nitrogen up the agenda for our December webinar. Yet exports from China, the nitrogen and phosphate swing supplier, look likely to be curbed through 2Q.
Urea Prices Continue to Fall Amid Global Market Pressure
With global urea prices under pressure after India’s latest tender, the New Orleans (NOLA) barge market fell to $323-$335 a short ton (st) during the week, down from last week’s $340-$350 and well below the $390-$450 business reported in September. Inland US urea was also softening at some northern terminals, while offshore urea prices fell in Brazil and the Black Sea region. NOLA and inland phosphate prices were mostly stable, while potash remained strong at inland terminals but down slightly at NOLA, where the latest barge trades dipped $5/st from the previous week’s low.
Ammonia prices were stable in the US as strong autumn demand continues in the Corn Belt, thanks to favorable weather and an early harvest. Applications of phosphates and potash were also well underway in mid-November.
Brazil’s Delayed Purchases for Corn Pressure Urea, Potash
Urea prices in Brazil fell 5.4% during the week, while potash lost 2.2% as sellers try to spur demand for corn safrinha. Farmers remain focused on soybean planting amid adverse weather conditions, however, limiting interest in corn safrinha’s preparation.
Nitrogen, Potash Prices Fall on Efforts to Spur Demand
Nitrogen prices dropped more than 5% this week in Brazil as seasonal corn demand remains slow while farmers struggle to plant soybeans amid weather issues. Brazil inland prices were falling slowly on few trades, suggesting nitrogen prices could keep declining to improve affordability. India’s demand retreat is expected to linger until the end of the year, also pressuring the market. Potash slid 2%, to $320-$340 a metric ton (mt) as sellers become more aggressive on cheaper offers from suppliers in Russia and Belarus. Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) strengthened to $560-$570/mt and will likely stay strong amid low availability until the end of the year.
Reduced corn demand could depress nitrogen and potash prices more, but sellers remain hesitant due to low immediate availability caused by long lines at Brazilian ports.
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