Last week marked the third straight week of higher urea prices in the NOLA (New Orleans) region. Average prices rose 2% week-over-week to $250 per ton, from $245 the previous week. The highest weekly average for urea prices seen this year was in the week of January 22nd, when prices average $253 per ton. Historically, Gulf urea prices start trending higher in October and remain in a general uptrend for the balance of the calendar year.
Industry sources continue to point to lower Chinese urea exports this year as a price supportive factor. There is also steady demand from South America and particularly India. Open weather over the last few weeks in the U.S. has allowed for fall fertilizer application and winter wheat planting. Early indications for 2018 crop acres point to steady corn acreage and higher rice acreage in the Midsouth.
When comparing price changes year-over-year, urea prices at NOLA are currently $50 per ton or 25% higher.