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Asian spot ammonia prices are expected to remain firm

May 30/2011

(ICIS) -- Asian spot ammonia prices are expected to remain firm for at least another month, supported by limited availability and healthy demand in the region, sources said on Monday. Spot supply from the Middle East Asias main source of ammonia - is tight even though production has increased in recent months with the start-up of SABICs new 1.1m tonne/year Maaden plant in Saudi Arabia in February this year, they said.

Ammonia prices have been rising for more than three months and were last assessed at USD 555-575/tonne (EUR 389-403/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) Asia in the week ending 27 May, up by about 1.2% from mid-February, according to ICIS data.

Middle East spot material is snug as global ammonia demand is strong and most production has been committed to term customers, sources said.

Saudi producer SABIC is reported to be a sold-out position for June, even though its newly started Maaden ammonia unit is now running at full rates.

Japanese trading company Mitsui purchased one of the few June spot cargoes available from SABIC, a source said on the sidelines of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) conference in Montreal, Canada, which ran from 22-25 May.

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