In the week ending September 22nd, Gulf urea prices continued to move higher. Prices in NOLA (New Orleans) increased $22 to an average $246 per ton. In the past three weeks, NOLA granular urea prices have gained $48 per ton or 24%. Compared to last year, Gulf urea prices are currently $63 per ton or 34% higher.
Urea prices in the NOLA market were stable for most of August near $198 per ton. Prices began to increase sharply following hurricane Harvey. Other market drivers include reduced urea shipments out of China and increasing demand from India. Recently, private analytical firm Informa forecast 2018 U.S. corn acreage to increase 1.2 million acres and wheat acreage to increase by 700,000 to 45.9 million acres.
Phosphate prices have also moved higher following Hurricane Irma. Barge prices for DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) in New Orleans rose another $11 last week, with prices averaging $336 per ton—up $16 per ton or 5% over the past three weeks. For the week ending September 22, DAP prices in NOLA are up 6% YoY (year-over-year) from $317 per ton in the same week in 2016. As a result of Hurricane Irma, Mosaic Company (largest producer of finished phosphate products) expects production to be down 250,000-350,000 metric tons (mt) in September. The company also estimated that total phosphate losses for the month could total 400,000 mt when accounting for hurricane damage to Florida warehouse facilities.