Global Ag News for Oct 30.23
Free trade deal between EU and Australia collapses
A free trade deal between the European Union and Australia has unravelled despite early optimism, with Canberra saying Monday it could take years until negotiations resume.
Since 2018 the painstaking discussions have picked through everything from chemicals to cosmetics, but have repeatedly come unstuck over market access for Australian products such as beef and sheep meat.
Australian agriculture minister Murray Watt said EU negotiators had refused to budge during the latest round of talks, held on the sidelines of a Group of Seven meeting in Japan.
“Unfortunately we just didn’t get the movement on the EU side that was required,” he told national broadcaster ABC on Monday.
Watt said it was unlikely talks would resume during “this current term of parliament” — indicating the Australian government may not return to the negotiating table until after the 2025 general election.
“I think it will be quite some time before any Australian government or any EU leadership is able to negotiate a deal. And that’s a bit of a shame,” Watt added.
A European Commission spokesperson said it had been optimistic of striking a deal in Osaka, but that Australia had “re-tabled agricultural demands that did not reflect recent negotiations”.
“The European Commission stands ready to continue negotiations,” the commission said in a statement.
French trade minister Olivier Becht late last week flagged a “number of very positive advances”, raising hopes that an agreement would be reached.
The two sides have tussled over how far Europe should prise open its markets to Australia’s sheep meat, beef and sugar exports.
At the same time, Europe wants better access to Australia’s rich deposits of “critical minerals”, easing its reliance on Russia and China for the key ingredients in clean-energy products such as wind turbines and electric car batteries.
In July, the two parties failed to reach a deal during talks in Brussels, with Australia saying it had not been guaranteed “significant” access to the European market for its agricultural products.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 6 1/2 in SRW, down 6 3/4 in HRW, down 3 1/2 in HRS; Corn is unchanged; Soybeans up 6 1/4; Soymeal down $3.40; Soyoil up 0.26.
Markets finished last week with wheat prices down 18 1/4 in SRW, down 34 1/2 in HRW, down 21 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 9 1/2; Soybeans up 20 1/4; Soymeal up $18.50; Soyoil up 0.59.
For the month to date wheat prices are up 27 1/2 in SRW, down 27 1/2 in HRW, up 7 in HRS; Corn is up 4; Soybeans up 31 1/4; Soymeal up $57.80; Soyoil down 3.30.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 28.2% in SRW, down 28.4% in HRW, down 23.7% in HRS; Corn is down 29.1%; Soybeans down 14.3%; Soymeal down 8.3%; Soyoil down 17.7%.
Chinese Ag futures (JAN 24) Soybeans down 3 yuan; Soymeal up 57; Soyoil up 80; Palm oil up 62; Corn up 22 — Malaysian Palm is down 33. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 33 ringgit (-0.87%) at 3742.
There were changes in registrations (-2 Soymeal). Registration total: 3,005 SRW Wheat contracts; 735 Oats; 4 Corn; 220 Soybeans; 62 Soyoil; 57 Soymeal; 400 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of October 27 were: SRW Wheat up 3,250 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,913, Corn up 5,032, Soybeans down 41,635, Soymeal up 8,694, Soyoil up 2,865.
Brazil: Heavy rain moved through southern and east-central areas over the weekend, unfavorable farther south, but very favorable farther northeast. The state of Mato Grosso and the surrounding areas did not see as much precipitation coverage or intensity, but showers still occurred as is typical for this time of year. Several systems moving through southern areas this week will produce heavy precipitation, which will continue to create problems with flooding, and limiting developing corn and soybeans as well as damaging remaining wheat. Central areas will see improved precipitation which will help with soybean planting and establishment in most areas, as well as keeping temperatures from getting too hot.
Argentina: Scattered showers went through the country over the weekend, including widespread moderate to heavy amounts in the south, favoring remaining filling winter wheat and developing corn as well as producing better soil moisture for early soybean planting, which will increase early in November. The pattern continues to be active this week with several rounds of showers moving through, markedly improving soil moisture in the country. However, colder temperatures are also moving in with the rain, which may produce some limited frosts over southern areas throughout the week.
Australia: It was mostly dry over the weekend, but some isolated showers did move through far southern areas. That continues for Monday as well. Otherwise, it is dry over most of the country, which will favor harvest of winter wheat and canola, but not planting or establishment of cotton and sorghum.
Northern Plains: Heavy snow that fell across northern areas last week will take some time to melt and keep temperatures low through most of the week. The pattern will stay fairly active with occasional light showers, including snow, for the next couple of weeks. The colder and wetter conditions will continue to make remaining fieldwork difficult to accomplish, especially north.
Central/Southern Plains: Scattered showers went through the region over the weekend, including accumulating light snow across the north. That included heavier rain in the southeast that should help to ease drought. Cold temperatures filled into the region which have led to widespread frosts and freezes, which continue for most of the week. Showers push out on Monday, but are likely to return this weekend or next week, as the pattern stays active.
Midwest: Rounds of showers went through this weekend, including some snow in the northwest and heavier rain across the south and east. Recent good rainfall should help to ease drought on a widespread basis, but are messing with the remaining fieldwork. Cold temperatures will be in place for most of the week, with widespread frosts and freezes. In addition, a burst of snow will move through with a disturbance early in the week. Temperatures will moderate this weekend, but the pattern will stay active with additional showers possible this weekend and next week at times.
Delta: Periods of showers occurred this weekend, including some heavier-than-expected rain across northern areas that should help with water levels on the Mississippi River. Showers will end on Monday and cold air will fill into the region this week, producing widespread frosts and freezes.
The player sheet for Oct. 27 had funds: net sellers of 2,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 1,500 corn, sellers of 9,000 soybeans, buyers of 6,000 soymeal, and buyers of 2,000 soyoil.
- UKRAINE EXPORT CORRIDOR: Four vessels left Ukrainian Black Sea ports in the Odesa region on Friday as shipping via a new export corridor resumed after a three-day pause, independent transport sector consultancy STC said.
- BRAZIL SOY, CORN PLANTING: Scarce rainfall due to the El Nino climate phenomenon has caused disparities in the speed of soy planting in Brazil’s top grain state Mato Grosso and could impact sowing of second corn, farmers and experts said on Friday.
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 50,100 metric tons of rice largely from the United States
- CORN TENDER: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL issued an international tender to purchase about 180,000 metric tons of animal feed corn
- WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 52,000 metric tons of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States
- WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat.
Brazil Farmers Plant 38.41% Of 2023/24 Soybean Area Versus 52.31% At This Time Last Year – Patria Agronegocios
BRAZIL FARMERS PLANT 38.41% OF 2023/24 SOYBEAN AREA VERSUS 52.31% AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR – PATRIA AGRONEGOCIOS
SOYBEAN/CEPEA: Price gap between purchasers and sellers reduces liquidity in Brazil
Liquidity has decreased this week in the Brazilian soybean market, because of the price gap between sellers and purchasers.
Soybean growers are focused on crop activities in Brazil and are unwilling to trade large amounts in the spot market. They are concerned with the irregular weather in the country.
Consumers, in turn, are away from trades, claiming to have stocks for the mid-term. They are also focused on the high surplus from the 2022/23 season and on the forecast of rains in the major producing regions, which tends to reinforce expectations of a record soybean crop in 2023/24.
Between Oct. 19-26, the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa soybean Index (Paranaguá) and the CEPEA/ESALQ Index (Paraná) dropped 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively, to BRL 143.19 per 60-kg bag (USD 28.68)/bag and BRL 136.58 (USD 27.36)/bag on Oct. 26. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, prices decreased 1.4% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers) and 1% in the wholesale market (deals between processors).
Price drops are also related to decreases of dollar quotes and in the international market. Dollar values moved down 1.1% against Real, at BRL 4.993. At Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group), the November/23 contract downed 2.7% in the same period, at USD 12.7950/bushel on October 26.
According to data from Conab, 28.4% of the soybean area had been planted up to October 21, below the 34.1% verified one year ago.
In Paraná, Deral/Seab says that 58% of the area had been planted until October 26, and activities are almost finished in the west and in the central-west of the state.
In Mato Grosso, Imea indicates that 2023/24 sowing activities reached 60% of the area up to Oct. 20, less than the 66.9% registered a year ago. The irregular volume of rainfall has been concerning players.
In Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás, Cptec (Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies) forecasts rains from this weekend on. Conab indicates that the soybean sowing reached 30% of the area in MS and 20% in GO, below the 49% and 37% planted one year ago, respectively.
In Rio Grande do Sul, soil conditions allowed the beginning of the planting. Cptec forecasts a significant volume of rainfall in the coming days, which can delay activities in RS and in Santa Catarina.
BYPRODUCTS – Soybean oil quotations dropped this week, influenced by expectations of higher supply. From Oct. 19-26, soy oil prices decreased 2.3%, at BRL 5,229.04 per ton (in São Paulo city with 12% ICMS) on October 26. As for soybean meal, on the other hand, values continue to move up due to the firm global demand. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, prices rose 3.2% in the last seven days.
CORN/CEPEA: Prices move down at ports, but are stable in the interior of Brazil
Corn prices resumed moving down again at Brazilian ports, influenced by decreases in the international market and of dollar quotes – they dropped 1.1% in one week, changing from BRL 5.049 on October 19 to BRL 4.99 yesterday (Oct. 26). In Paranaguá (PR) and Santos (SP), corn prices decreased 0.4% and 2.4%, respectively, from Oct. 19-26.
Liquidity at ports is lower compared to that observed at the beginning of the month, but prices are still higher than those in the domestic market, which keeps firm the interest of producers to close deals to export.
As a result of trades closed in previous weeks, exports are moving at a good pace. According to data from Secex, in 14 working days of October, Brazil shipped 5.89 million tons, which accounts for 87% of the total exported in the same month of 2022 (6.78 million corn tons). In case the current pace, of 420 thousand tons, continues up to late October, the total volume may hit 8.84 million tons, higher than Anec estimates, of 8.2 million tons.
In the interior of Brazil, values are more stable, since producers are focused on crop activities and are away from new trades. Moreover, many players are concerned with weather conditions. The excess of rainfall in the South and the hot weather in the Central-West may affect crops development.
Purchasers, in turn, still have stocks for the short-term, but some of these agents already show interest in new batches, which sustained quotations. Between Oct. 19-26, on the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, corn prices increased 0.5% in the wholesale market (deals between processors) but dropped 1.3% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers).
The ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Index (Campinas, SP) closed at BRL 58.81 (USD 11.78)/bag on October 26, moving up 0.5% compared to that on October 19.
The weather has been concerning players about the summer crop planting. In Rio Grande do Sul, the excess of rainfall affects crop practices, while low humidity in Mato Grosso has interrupted the soybean sowing, which can reduce the ideal period for the cereal in 2024.
Sowing activities advanced 2.6 percentage points from October 15 to 21, reaching the national average of 33%, according to Conab.
El Nino disrupts Brazil soy planting in Mato Grosso, threatens second corn
Scarce rainfall due to the El Nino climate phenomenon has caused disparities in the speed of soy planting in Brazil’s top grain state Mato Grosso and could impact sowing of second corn, farmers and experts said on Friday.
The risk for the second corn, which is planted after soy is harvested, is greater in areas where the oilseed may have to be replanted.
“We are already seeing a tightening of the calendar, and El Nino could cut rains in advance,” said meteorologist Desiree Brandt.
Soybean farmers in Mato Grosso are worried that unusual heat and dryness will lead to replanting of some areas while lowering yields in others.
Cayron Giacomelli, a producer in mid-north Mato Grosso, said he had already sown his entire soybean area, despite the possibility of having to redo the work.
“It’s very dry in our region. I know farmers who planted very little, and replanting is present in most areas here,” he said.
According to Brandt, even though the maps are showing a significant accumulation of rain in recent days, it is necessary to pay attention to the “quality of this rain”.
“Last year, at this time, we already had much more widespread rain. Last year we had a La Nina and this year we have an El Nino,” Brandt said.
Better rain conditions are expected next week in states such as Goias and Mato Grosso, two major producers suffering from scarce rainfall.
However, soybean sowing could be 15 days late on average in relation to the previous cycle, she added.
Marcos da Rosa, a grower in eastern Mato Grosso, said that many farmers planted soy “without the prospect of rain”. He himself had to stop sowing for around eight days and resumed work this week.
“From yesterday to today it rained well,” he said. “I thought it would rain all around but 130 km from here it didn’t rain… Things are still uneven.”
Rosa said there are growers in his area who had planted nothing and others with 100% of the area sown.
In Nova Xavantina, also in the east of Mato Grosso, grower Endrigo Dalcin said he also had to stop planting for ten days.
Due to delays in soybean sowing, growers are likely to plant sesame instead of corn, which has a much lower risk, Dalcin said.
“Now it’s raining a little more… but it hasn’t regularized yet. People are quite worried.”
Amazon drought takes corn sales to ports in Southeastern Brazil
The drought in northern Brazil has changed the logistics of corn flows at the region’s ports. As some rivers in the Amazon Basin are at their lowest levels in history, many buyers are choosing to send goods to ports in the Southeast.
“The cost of transporting grain to the ports of the Northern Arch has increased because it is now being done by trucks instead of barges, doubling the operation cost. That is why many cargoes are migrating mainly to the port of Santos,” Francisco Queiroz, an analyst at Itaú BBA’s Consultoria Agro, told Valor.
In a report describing the impact of adverse weather on grain exports through Arco Norte ports, the firm noted that the situation has worsened this year. This is because river levels in the Amazon Basin are going through a seasonally low period aggravated by the effects of the El Niño phenomenon and the warming of the North Tropical Atlantic.
In addition to the impact on delivering, the lack of rain in the North could also cause a decline in export premiums for corn, according to the expert. “Arco Norte prizes would have a greater discount given this momentary logistical difficulty. But this must happen in a localized way and would not impact the corn price in Brazil, for example,” Mr. Queiroz said.
With the difficulty in sending goods to Brazil’s North, demand for freight decreased, as did prices, noted Fernando Bastiani, a researcher at Esalq-Log. Freight prices from Sorriso (Mato Grosso) to Itaituba (Pará) fell to R$276.64 per tonne this month from R$302.98 in September.
Despite this new dynamic for corn logistics, Itaú BBA’s Mr. Queiroz does not believe Brazil will have difficulty shipping its 55-million-tonne corn harvest predicted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for this season.
He estimated that delivery would take place normally, despite the waiting time for boarding at the port of Santos increasing to 16 days from 9 early this month.
“In the year to September, Brazil has exported 28 million tonnes, and another 9 million are expected to be shipped this month. Exports will test the operating capacity of Santos, but the product will not stop leaving, which is why I believe in record volumes,” the analyst projected.
According to Flávio Acatauassú, director-president of the Association of Port Terminals and Cargo Transshipment Stations of the Amazon Basin (Amport), the grains, which are transported via the Madeira and Tapajós rivers, are arriving at the Northern Arch ports without major disruption.
With the drop in the river’s draft, the barges had to pass with 50% less weight through the Madeira River and 40% less through the Tapajós. But in recent days, both rivers have already risen by 70 centimeters.
“The companies that have planned for it are entering and leaving the ports. But those who didn’t measure the height of rivers or wanted to pass larger ships couldn’t,” Mr. Acatauassú said.
In the report, Itaú BBA also highlighted that rainfall in Northern Brazil is expected to remain below average until January 2024.
Ukraine’s Oct grain exports down by almost half y/y -ministry data
Ukraine’s grain exports in October have almost halved year on year to 2.15 million metric tons from 4.22 million, the agriculture ministry data showed on Monday.
The ministry said Ukraine had exported a total of 8.9 million tons of grain in the 2023/24 July-June season, down from 12.9 million in the same period in 2022/23.
The exported volume this season included 4.5 million tons of wheat, 3.6 million tons of corn and 679,000 tons of barley. In the same period last season Ukraine had exported 4.9 million tons of wheat, 6.8 million tons of corn and 1.09 million tons of barley.
While the ministry gave no explanation for the decrease, traders and farmers’ unions have said blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports and Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River are the main reasons for lower exports.
Ukraine has traditionally shipped most of its exports through its Black Sea ports.
A deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey allowing those exports collapsed in July when Russia withdrew, saying its demand that sanctions be lifted on its own grain and fertiliser exports had not been met.
Ukrainian officials said more that 50 cargo vessels have entered a new Black Sea shipping corridor since it came into operation in August as Kyiv steps up a push to defy the de-facto Russian blockade.
Ukraine’s government expects a grain and oilseeds harvest of 79 million tons in 2023, with a 2023/24 exportable surplus of about 50 million tons.
Ships Move Through Ukraine Black Sea Route Again After Pause
- Ship-tracking data show movement toward and from Ukraine
- Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry says lane is operating
Vessels are moving through Ukraine’s new Black Sea shipping corridor again, after a recent pause in traffic.
Earlier this week, a Ukrainian official said ship movements had been suspended because of tax and customs issues as Kyiv tries to crack down on corruption. Traders and shippers had also noted the stall in traffic, though the Infrastructure Ministry said Thursday that the corridor wasn’t stopped and vessels were being processed in ports.
Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said four bulk carriers left ports of so-called Big Odesa Friday, exporting almost 130,000 tons of grain and 10,000 tons of metal to countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. At the same time, 11 ships were called to the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi to load almost 225,000 tons of agricultural and metal products.
“Despite all the threats, the grain corridor will keep functioning,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s press office cited him as telling UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday. The two leaders also discussed insurance for civil vessels.
Ukraine is a major exporter of agricultural commodities, which are a key source of its wartime revenues. Kyiv had recently opened the unilateral corridor to allow ships to export commodities like grains and metals from its deep-sea ports in Greater Odesa, after Moscow in July pulled out of the United Nations-backed Black Sea grain deal that had guaranteed safe movement of crop vessels.
While more ships have started to use the lane in recent weeks, it’s still fraught with risks. Russia had threatened to treat any ships sailing to Ukraine as potentially carrying weapons after exiting the UN-backed deal.
India 2023-24 Monsoon-Sown Food Grain Output Seen at 148.6M Tons
India’s monsoon-sown rice production seen at 106.3m tons in 2023-24, according to a statement by the farm ministry late Friday.
- Corn output seen at 22.48M tons
- Pulses output seen at 7.12M tons
- Oilseeds output seen at 21.53M tons
- Peanut output seen at 7.83M tons
- Soybean output seen at 11.53M tons
- India’s 2023-24 sugar cane output seen at 434.8M tons
- Cotton output seen at 31.66M bales of 170 kg each
India extends halt on futures trading in key farm commodities to December 2024
India on Friday extended the suspension of trading in derivative contracts of key farm commodities for the second time, to run into late 2024, as the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils and a major producer of wheat and rice seeks to curb food inflation.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2021 ordered a year-long suspension of futures trading in key farm commodities, a dramatic step since allowing futures trading in 2003. That suspension was last year extended until Dec. 20, 2023.
In a notification issued late on Friday, SEBI said the suspension of trading in futures contracts would now continue until Dec. 20, 2024, on soybean and its derivatives, crude palm oil, wheat, paddy rice, chickpea, green gram and rapeseed mustard.
“It’s a very unfortunate move,” said Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage.
“The Indian vegetable oil industry is in dire need of a hedging mechanism to navigate the ongoing global market turbulence. Unfortunately, no such mechanism exists at present due to the absence of commodity futures.”
India fills nearly two-thirds of its edible oil requirements through imports, which incurred a record cost of $20.8 billion in the 2022/23 financial year ended on March 31.
The move was expected by some market participants, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government aims to stabilize prices with a series of state elections coming next month ahead of a general election next year.
The government has made it abundantly clear that it won’t permit the prices of food commodities to increase by implementing a range of export restrictions on wheat, rice, and sugar, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house.
“Sadly, the government links the price rise in food commodities to futures trading, so the extension was expected,” he said.
India’s National Commodity And Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), which derives most of its volume from trading in farm commodities, was the most affected by the government’s decision, followed by the Multi Commodity Exchange
Canada’s Unifor union, St. Lawrence Seaway reach tentative deal, ending strike
The union representing St. Lawrence Seaway workers in eastern Canada said it reached a tentative labor agreement on Sunday, ending a week-long strike that shut down a key North American trade route linked to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Unifor union, representing some 360 workers, said it agreed to a deal with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp (Seaway) that would cover engineering, maintenance, and other worker groups in Ontario and Quebec provinces.
Other details of the agreement, which would need to be ratified by the workers, were not shared. Workers will return to their jobs from Monday morning.
The strike started on Oct. 22 after contract talks with Seaway broke down, but the parties resumed negotiations on Friday as concerns grew about the impact of the seaway shutdown on the economy.
The St. Lawrence Seaway links the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and is managed by the Canadian not-for-profit Seaway Corp along with the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
The strike – the latest in a string of contract disputes as workers demand higher compensation to make up for a rise in the cost of living – led to industry groups cautioning about supply chain disruptions potentially worsening inflation.
The walkout affected about 150 vessels over the one-week period and impeded the movement of grains and other commodities. About C$34 million ($24.5 million) in economic activity was being disrupted every day, according to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The Seaway Corp will begin to implement a recovery program immediately and will start passing ships progressively as of Monday, it said in a statement.
The seaway strike followed a 13-day walkout in July at some of Canada’s busiest ports that disrupted trade and weighed on the economy.
About 36.3 million metric tons of cargo valued at C$16.7 billion passed through the St. Lawrence Seaway’s infrastructure in 2022, according to the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition.
US Beef Production Falls 0.2% This Week, Pork Rises: USDA
US federally inspected beef production falls to 527m pounds for the week ending Oct. 28 from 528m in the previous week, according to USDA estimates published on the agency’s website.
- Cattle slaughter down 0.3% from a week ago to 636m head
- Pork production up 0.5% from a week ago, hog slaughter rises 0.2%
- For the year, beef production is 5.2% below last year’s level at this time, and pork is 0.2% above
Black Sea Nitrogen Fertilizer Price Rises 9.39%
Nitrogen fertilizer, represented by Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) on the Black Sea, rose 9.39% to $181 per metric ton in the week ended Oct. 27, according to Green Markets data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.
- UAN Black Sea rose 6.18% during the last month and was up 36.7% during the last 3 months
- Major UAN nitrogen benchmark prices were mixed
- Shares of Yara International ASA and Acron PJSC were down in the latest week
- Major Ammonia nitrogen benchmark prices were mixed
- All major Urea nitrogen benchmark prices fell while Middle East granular urea fell the most during the last week
- Natural gas, which drives producer costs, has increased 11% during the last week and was up 11% during the last month
- The price of corn, a driver of fertilizer purchases, decreased 3% during the last week and was down 0.6% during the last month
India Tender Results Pressure Global Urea Market
The global nitrogen market was unsettled amid another urea tender from India and rising European natural gas prices. The US autumn fertilizer season is set to kick off as harvest nears completion and soil temperatures drop. India, the world’s largest importer of urea, made supply inroads in its October tender, procuring 1.7 million metric tons at lower prices than expected.
US Nitrogen Prices Mixed; Phosphates, Potash Steady
US nitrogen prices were mixed in late October, with ammonia remaining strong ahead of the autumn application season and urea falling amid softening global markets. Ammonium sulfate was also moving up at inland terminals in the US, while phosphates were steady at New Orleans (NOLA) and inland as seasonal demand begins to accelerate. India booked 1.7 million metric tons (mt) in its latest urea tender at lower prices than expected, pressuring the global urea market and spurring additional price declines at NOLA and the inland US. Potash prices were unchanged at NOLA but up slightly in the Corn Belt after Nutrien announced a $20 a short ton (st) increase in the Midwest on Oct. 20.
Additional inland ammonia price increases are likely following the $50 a metric ton (mt) increase in Tampa ammonia for November, to $625/mt.
Brazil Urea Climbs on Indian Tender Results
As India awarded 1.7 million metric tons of urea in its latest tender, Brazil urea prices increased 1.9% due to demand competition. Prices are still pressured to fall, however, as farmers delay purchases amid compromised affordability, risking availability for the corn safrinha season.
India’s Demand Pushes Urea Higher; Potash, Phosphates Follow
Urea prices rebounded in Brazil as its main nitrogen competitor, India, acquired 1.7 million metric tons (mt) in its latest tender. Amid concerns that India would struggle to fulfill its need for the season, urea import prices increased 1.9% in Brazil, but most buyers are still bidding lower. The domestic market is under pressure as farmers seek discounts due to low crop prices and pressured affordability, suggesting Brazil’s urea uptrend may reverse. Corn safrinha planted area could fall by 5% if input costs remain high. Farmers are also considering switching to other crops or using less fertilizer.
Phosphates and potash also strengthened in Brazil. Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) supplies are limited due to delivery problems from key international producers, and higher potash prices were offered for Canadian products.
India sets $800 per ton minimum export price on onions till end-December
India has set a floor price of $800 per metric ton minimum export price on onions up to Dec. 31, the government said on Saturday, in a bid to ensure adequate domestic availability and to stabilise prices.
“The measure has been taken to maintain sufficient availability of onion to domestic consumers at affordable prices as the quantity of stored rabi 2023 onion is declining,” the government said in a statement, referring to crops sown in winter.
The government also announced procurement of 200,000 tons of onions for its buffer, over and above the 500,000 tons already procured, it said in the statement.
The south Asian nation had in August imposed a 40% export duty on onions up to Dec. 31 to improve domestic availability of the vegetable.
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