ADM says all eyes are on the U.S. river system when it comes to fertilizer market moves and prices


It seems like with the current state of the world, no one is short on questions; and fertilizer supply is no exception.

Mike Lowery, Canadian sales manager for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and Jake Niederer, director of sales and marketing for ADM, joined RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney to discuss the current fertilizer market across the globe.

A global fertilizer disruption seems to be inevitable, but to what capacity? Niederer says in the long-term, the global supply chain could face difficulties.

“In the fertilizer markets, regarding fertilizer out of China, right now you are at high domestic China season, so most of the fertilizer anyways is going to stay in the local markets. So exports not coming out of China isn’t a major issue for the global market. Now, if that is prolonged into the June, July, August, September time-frame, India usually looks to China for a large portion of their fertilizer supply. So that would create an issue for the fertilizer market, ultimately driving up some shortages,” Niederer explains. However, he adds that this is not something he expects, but still something to be aware of.

When it comes to the North American market, Niederer says all eyes are on the U.S. river systems.

“There could be some issues around vessels coming to and from China, and just vessels, in general, coming into North America,” says Niederer. “A lot of the product Canada receives does flow through the U.S. river system to ultimately go into Canada into those prairie markets. So the disruptions we expect are going to be around the coast-guard making vessels wait, quarantining for a small period of time —  two weeks — bleaching cargos. So things of that nature are where we expect potential disruptions around the supply chain.”

From a price perspective on the domestic market, Lowery says that with a NOLA perspective, we are well off in terms of USD prices from where we were a year ago, with the exception of nitrogen being a little higher.

“This time last year we were looking at a $248 to $250 NOLA [for nitrogen], but today it’s closer to $260. So it is up 10 or 12 dollars. Phosphate is off $50 from where we were this time a year ago, NOLA was trading around a 335, today it’s closer to a 285. That’s even after we’ve come off lows we saw in the market back in December,” Lowrey notes. “Sulpher… is down 20-25 dollars a tonne on a NOLA basis from where we were last year. And potash is probably a 30-35 dollar reset. Keep in mind those are USD denominated prices at NOLA. Let’s keep in mind the impact of foreign exchange and the Canadian exchange rates on those prices as well.”

Check out the full interview with Jake Niederer, Mike Lowery, and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney, below:

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