Nitrate fertilizers are, next to urea, an important nitrogen source for crops around the world. The three main nitrate fertilizers – urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), ammonium nitrate (AN) and calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) – in contrast to urea, contain nitrogen in the nitrate form, which can be directly taken up by plants.
Key facts about the nitrates fertilizer market
- Around 35-40% of global UAN production is traded each year with the United States having tripled exports between 2014 and 2019.
- Russia is by far the largest producer and exporter of fertilizer-grade AN, holding an about 45% share in global exports each year.
- CAN consumption and trade is concentrated in Europe where Germany is by far the largest importer on a global scale, taking around 2 million tonnes per year or about one-fifth of the global import market each year.
- The global UAN market has grown by more than 6.2 million tonnes, or close to 40%, over the past decade, mainly driven by the United States, which is by far the largest market for UAN around the world.
- Nitrate prices generally move in step with urea as this is the main competition product, although prices can move in different directions on the back of structural or fundamental changes in one of the markets.