Fertiliser Focus – 9th March 2020

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Urea, unlike other commodities seems to be bucking the trend following the spread of the coronavirus. Brent Crude Oil prices dropped nearly 10% on Friday partly due to the collapse of an OPEC deal to cut production collapsed. The deal was designed to hold up prices following the drop in demand particularly in air travel as a result of fears over coronavirus.  Urea prices however have moved up a further $10 per tonne from Egypt, and $20 in the US which has been a strong market since the turn of the year. Lower than usual ammonia application in the autumn and an expectation of higher corn plantings   in 2020 are major contributing factors. Many producers are now sold out for March new shipments will be April. India are expected to tender for 1M tonnes of Urea in March, this will keep prices firm for the short to medium term. The UK also bucks the trend, replacement cost for Granular Urea is £ 270 /t, we are £ 20 below that (at the moment) due to lower than expected winter plantings.

Spreader Calibration Services

It was great to see Charlotte and her Father Rob Foxall featured on BBC countryfile on Sunday evening, tray testing Ammonium Nitrate to 36 metres. SCS Spreader & Sprayer Testing are market leaders in this area. The episode is available to watch again on the BBC i-player. To find out more on this family business go to www.spreadcheck.com

Origin Enterprises

As covered in last weeks’ edition of Fertiliser Focus, Origin Enterprises published its interim results for the first half of the year ending 31st January 2020. It announced an operating loss of €2.8M. Origin Chief Executive Officer, Tom O’Mahony said:  ‘intense and prolonged rainfall has led to a 40% year-on-year reduction in the level of autumn and winter crop plantings, against these particularly challenging conditions, we will focus on optimising operational performance while pausing merger & acquisition activity’. A further update will be published for Q3 on 17 June 2020.

Sirius Minerals

The takeover of Sirius Minerals by mining company Anglo American was approved by 61% of shareholders, following a vote on Tuesday 3rd March. Anglo American’s offer is subject to approval by the Competition and Markets Authority. Following Tuesday’s meeting Sirius’ chairman Russell Scrimshaw said: ‘The positive outcome from today’s meeting secures a return for shareholders, and provides greater certainty in terms of safeguarding the project, protecting the jobs of our employees, and allowing the community, region and the UK to continue to benefit from the project’. While a collapse of the project would have been a disaster, small and local investors face financial losses after the takeover valued shares at 5.5p, share prices peaked at 45.2p in Aug 2016.

Economic Data as at close on Friday 28th February v (21st February 2020). £ = $1.2781 ($ 1.2960) £ = € 1.1611 (€ 1.1943)   Crude Oil = $ 50.51 ($ 58.23) Natural Gas = $1.71 ($1.90). Please treat pricing on graphs as a guide, please use quote request form for an up to date price.