Urea Fertilizers Snapshot

Urea, N-P-K composition 46-0-0, is the most commonly produced and widely traded nitrogen product. It is estimated that 90 percent is used as fertilizer and the rest for industrial purposes. Synthesized from ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2), urea is the only primary nitrogen product chemically classified as organic (because of its carbon content). Nitrogen is the most crucial and major nutrient element in plant growth. It is abundant in nature and enhances better yields.  Because urea is produced from ammonia and carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of ammonia production, all urea plants are located adjacent to or in proximity to an ammonia plant.

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China and India account for more than a half of urea output (as well as capacity), however, these two countries are the largest urea consumers, over half of it. In 1912, more than forty percent of the urea fertilizer was consumed in East Asia, followed by South Asia, which took nearly a quarter of the product.

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Indonesia: Gresik to Open East Java Phosphoric Acid Plant in 2nd Quarter

State-run fertilizer company Petrokimia Gresik plans to open a 200,000 tpa phosphoric acid plant in East Java in the second quarter of the current year.

Construction began in 2010 and the output will be shared in two equal parts by Gresik and by the Jordan Phosphate Mines (JOPH). The plant will have a nameplate capacity of 0.2 million tonnes phosphoric acid per year, 0.8 million tonnes sulphuric acid per year, and 1 million NPK fertilizer per year. The factory will need yearly some 150,000 tonnes of ammonia, 800,000 tonnes of phosphate rock (imported from Jordan), and 270,000 tonnes of sulphur.

Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, consumes some 50,000 tpa of fertilizer nutrients. They are the third largest world producer of paddy rice, following China and India.

Jordan Phosphate Mines Company operates 3 mining facilities in Jordan and a chemical manufacturing complex in Aqaba and they reported sales of USD 1.08 billion for the year ending December of 2012. JPMC produces more than 7 million tonnes of phosphate rock annually, making Jordan the sixth country worldwide in terms of production and the second largest country in terms of export.

Fertilizers Snapshot

The fertilizer industry confronts a variety of challenges which trigger its growth. Population increase projections estimate that by 2050 there will be 2 billion more people to feed, in a planet that is losing land to urbanization, industrialization and desertification. In addition there has been conversion of land from arable crop production to biofuel manufacture. Diet changes, in particular in the emergent markets, are increasing consumption of protein rich foodstuffs such as red meat, poultry and dairy products.

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Nitrogen is the most crucial and major nutrient element in plant growth. It is abundant in nature and enhances better yields.

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Phosphorus plays a major energizer role of plant production, it is crucial to photosynthesis and reproduction and an aid to other yield-developing processes.

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Potash plays a vital role in crop growth and helps plants resist cold and drought.

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PRICES

Vietnam: Israel Chemicals Ltd and Duc Giang to mine phosphate in Bao Thang

Israel’s ICL have signed last September a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the privately owned Vietnamese company Duc Giang, a manufacturer of thermal phosphoric acid (P4). Their aim is phosphate mining and beneficiation in the Bao Thang province in Vietnam. Israel Chemicals was seriously shaken this year after Potash Corp. scrapped a proposed takeover in April and as Uralkali said July 30 it would end the Belarusian joint venture, raising concern of a price war on the potash markets. Last year, ICL had his third consecutive year of growth, with US$7.22 billion in sales. To put this figure in perspective, we can compare it with the US$1.33 billion sales of the Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company for the year ending December of 2012.

Morocco: OCP plans expansion

Casablanca-based OCP (Office Cherifien des Phosphates), the largest phosphate exporter, has currently a market share of 16% of the global demand for phosphate-based fertilizers and they are planning to increase it to 40% by 2020. At the beginning of the current decade, the world demand was approximately 39 million tones P2O5 and it is forecasted to increase to about 45-48 million tones in 2020. The state-owned OCP plans to triple their production capacity. Currently they have 150 clients in five continents. To meet their production goals, the OCP plans to oversee the construction of four new mines in Khouribga and Benguérir, expected to provide an additional capacity of 20m tonnes of phosphate rock per year. Work is also underway in expanding their logistic capacities and developing new industrial infrastructure at the phosphate hub of Jorf Lasfar, including phosphate washing and enrichment plants.

Phosphate Snapshot

Most of the phosphate output is used for fertilizer. Phosphorus plays a major energizer role of plant production, it is crucial to photosynthesis and reproduction and an aid to other yield-developing processes. Different crops require different quantities of phosphate fertilizer, for example a maize crop yielding 6–9 tonnes of grain per hectare requires some 31–50 kg of phosphate fertilizer to be applied, soybeans requires about 20–25 kg per hectare. Most natural and agricultural soils are phosphorus deficient.

Other important phosphate activities are the manufacture of feed products and industrial applications like detergents and cleaners, food and beverages, metal finishing, water treatment and toothpaste.

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Phosphate fertilizer consumption is driven by the increasing needs of agricultural growth, which has to feed a global population which has increased by 130% from 1960 to 2011, the decreasing amount of available land, the growing need to produce animal feed, and the growing share of biofuels in the crops output. World consumption of P2O5 contained in fertilizers was projected to grow at a rate of 2-3% per year during the next 5 years, with the largest increases expected in Asia and South America.

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China is the largest consumer and producer of phosphate fertilizers, it is the main factor shaping the phosphate market. India is the second global consumer. The Chinese are also the largest consumer of feed phosphates, accounting for 31 percent of global consumption. The USA and Brazil consume 9 percent and 12 percent of global feed phosphate respectively.

The global consumption of phosphate fertilizers was estimated to have been in 2012 of some 40.7 million tonnes P2O5, slightly less than the 41.3 millions consumed in 2011. This was mainly a result of lesser demand of the Asian markets, as consequence of different factors, among them the negative effect on the Indian farmer economics of the review of the subsidy system.

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In relation to the industrial phosphates, China is the world’s largest producer, accounting for more than half of the global capacity.

 

Estimated 2012 Phosphate Rock Capacity

(Total: about 200 million tonnes rock)

 

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Global phosphate fertilizer (MAP/DAP/TSP) sales volume in 2011 totalled 25.3 million tonnes product (up 1.0% year-on-year). China remained the world’s largest exporter of DAP in 2012 and accounted for a quarter of the global market.

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Nitrogen Fertilizers Snapshot

Nitrogen is the most crucial and major nutrient element in plant growth. It is abundant in nature and enhances better yields.


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Because of its high nitrogen content (46%), urea is the most popular form of solid nitrogen fertilizer, particularly in the developing regions of the world, and is traded widely in the international market. More than 40% of all food grown in the world is fertilized by urea. Growing faster than dry nitrogen-containing fertilizers, nitrogen solutions are mostly used in the United States and Western Europe.

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China is the largest consumer and producer of nitrogenous fertilizers, it is the main factor shaping the nitrogen market. Global nitrogen demand has strengthened significantly during the second half of 2012 and into 2013, balancing the strong increase in supply from China.

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Nitrogen products are manufactured from anhydrous ammonia, which is most commonly synthesized from natural gas, steam and air.

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The highly competitive nature of this market makes nitrogen fertilizer prices relatively volatile.

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POTASH FERTILIZER SNAPSHOT

Potassium is an essential plant nutrient and an essential nutritional requirement for both humans and animals, for which there is no effective substitute. Potassium is used to make fertilizer, biofuels, gun-powder, and various industrial chemicals. About ninety percent of potash is used for fertilizer manufacture. Potassium Chloride (KCl) is the most common source of potassium. The mineral plays a vital role in crop growth and helps plants resist cold and drought. Due to its high chlorine content, MOP is widely used in chlorine resistant crops such as wheat, rice, soya, maize, and pastures. Potassium intake is also important in animal nutrition and milk production.

Potassium sulphate and potassium nitrate are the main non-chloride K fertilizers.

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Compared with other fertilizer nutrients, the potash industry is much consolidated, with Canada, Russia, Belarus and Germany accounting for more than 3/4 of world production. There are about twelve large potash manufacturers, most of them non-governmental owned.

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Significant additions to the global potash capacity are planned in Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Congo (Brazzaville), and the United Kingdom.

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Potash reserves are concentrated in just a few areas: major producing regions include the FSU, North America, Germany, and the Dead Sea area.

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Potash production is located only in about a dozen countries and some 80% of the world output is traded.

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Potash changes are driven mainly by the demand of the global fertilizer industry, in particular the Indian and the Chinese one, but also by the growth of the agrofuel production. The key crops influencing the potash price are first of all corn, and then soybeans and rice.

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Phosphate Fertilizers Snapshot

Phosphorus plays a major energizer role of plant production, it is crucial to photosynthesis and reproduction and an aid to other yield-developing processes. Different crops require different quantities of phosphate fertilizer, for example a maize crop yielding 6–9 tonnes of grain per hectare requires some 31–50 kg of phosphate fertilizer to be applied, soybean requires about 20–25 kg per hectare.

Phosphate fertilizer consumption is driven by the increasing needs of agricultural growth, which has to feed a global population which has increased by 130% from 1960 to 2011, the decreasing amount of available land, the growing need to produce animal feed, and the growing share of biofuels in the crops output. World consumption of P2O5 contained in fertilizers was projected to grow at a rate of 2.5% per year during the next 5 years, with the largest increases in Asia and South America.

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China is the largest consumer and producer of phosphate fertilizers, it is the main factor shaping the phosphate market.

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Global phosphate fertilizer (MAP/DAP/TSP) sales volume in 2011 totalled 25.3 million tonnes product (up 1.0% year-on-year).

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Brazil: A Growing Market

Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil’s economy outweighs that of all other South American countries, and Brazil is expanding its presence in world markets. Despite slower growth in 2011, Brazil overtook the United Kingdom as the world’s seventh largest economy in terms of GDP. Brazil is the first global producer of coffee (about 30%), sisal, oranges, sugar cane (some 30 percent of global production), mate, and cashew apple, the world’s second-largest soybean grower (trailing the USA) and the third-biggest corn producer. Forecasts indicate Brazil will outpace US production of many key commodities by 2020/21 including cotton, soybean, corn and wheat because of burgeoning yield gains. Brazil is the largest exporter of alcohol, sugar, orange juice, soybeans, and tobacco. Brazil is an agricultural superpower which accounts for approximately 8 percent of the world fertilizer consumption.

 

 

One of the challenges of increasing world food production is the fact that most quality arable land is already in use. While there’s great scope for developing new sites, particularly in former Soviet countries, such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and in Africa, the challenges of political instability and woeful infrastructure limit the realization of this potential. That makes particularly interesant the Cerrado region in Brazil, where the 100 million hectares of available land represents 60 per cent of the world’s spare capacity – although this country, too, faces issues around infrastructure. SLC Agricola is one of Brazil’s largest landholders, with roughly 300,000 hectares. It’s located in a western region and the company has been gradually bringing it into production. In the past 12 months, the nation’s farm prices have risen 19 per cent. The demand for fertilizers is high, last year Brazil’s supply of DAP and MAP reached near-record levels, and in the current year consumption is expected to surpass the record set in 2007. During the last decade government policy drove a sharp increase in biofuels production, an additional promoter of fertilizer demand. Brazil has the potential to fill the growing world demand for ethanol based on its vast arable land area, robust productivity, and Brazilian ethanol’s status as a low carbon renewable fuel. Cultivated sugarcane area has expanded rapidly from 4.3 million hectares in 1990, to over 10 million hectares in 2010. Sugar was Brazil’s most valuable export crop in the 1950s and 1960s. In the mid-1970s, emphasis switched from sugar to ethanol production to meet domestic fuel needs, and, with the current boom in renewable fuels demand, Brazil has become a large-scale ethanol producer and exporter. Brazil is currently the second largest ethanol producer behind the United States.

 

 

In spite of some local production, potash is a weak point in the Brazilian scenery, as it imports 91% of its potash consumption, which amounted to 7.5 million tonnes of KCl in 2011, 44% higher than 2010, from Russian, Belarusian, Canadian and German producers, in descending order. In terms of global consumption, China, the United States, Brazil and India represent 59% of the total, with Brazil alone representing 13% of the total. The only local potash mine is leased to Vale, is located in Taquari-Vassouras, state of Sergipe and has been producing some 0.65 million tonnes annually. Vale production represented some 37% of the total phosphate consumption in Brazil, with imports representing 35% of total supply. Their phosphate products are mainly sold to fertilizer blenders, and in the high-concentration segment, their production supplied more than a third of the total Brazilian consumption, being their main products MAP and TSP. In the low-concentration phosphate nutrients segment, their production represented approximately 49% of total Brazilian consumption, with products like SSP and DCP. Last year their produced more than 7.3 million tonnes phosphate rock in different mines, including Bayóvar, in Perú. They also produce ammonia, urea, nitric acid, and AN.

Brazil is the 4th largest fertilizer market in the world and is growing above average.

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