Laura Cross, Head of Nitrogen Analysis
I'm Laura Cross, and I run the Nitrogen Analysis team at CRU. We have four analysts working full-time on the nitrogen market, here in London. We also have contributors in some of the key global offices, from Shanghai and Beijing to Mumbai and Pittsburgh.
Key elements of CRU's Nitrogen Analysis
The nitrogen industry has a number of different product markets within it, starting with the ammonia and urea markets. We publish Market Outlook reports every three months on these areas. We also have some deeper dive reports that look at the niche markets such as ammonium nitrates, UAN, and the technical ammonium nitrate market, as well.
One of the most rewarding parts of our approach to analysing the nitrogen industry is that we have a team of really curious and innovative analysts. Our ultimate aim is to help our clients navigate the opportunities and threats in the nitrogen industry.
Laura Cross Head of Nitrogen Analysis
What trends are you seeing in the nitrogen industry today?
One of the really important things that we've had to consider when analysing the nitrogen market in the last few years is the increasingly uncertain nature of geopolitics and trade tensions in the global market. One example of this, which has been really key to the urea market, has been the US sanctions on Iran. We've really seen a rerouting of trade flows as a result of this.
In order to understand where the market is heading, as a result of these sanctions, we've started to look at different scenarios and different identifiers for where prices and trade could ultimately go. We've also been spending a lot of time understanding the role of the geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This really has a strong impact on the nitrates markets, as does the Port of Yuzhny on the Black Sea, where a lot of nitrogen product is exported into the global market.
We've also had a set of interesting developments take place in Brazil recently with the sale of Petrobras' four nitrogen assets. This is something where we take into account the economic drivers behind investment into nitrogen.
Most importantly, when it comes to forecasting the market and working out where trade and prices are going to develop, we really look at the countries where there is state intervention in the fertilizer sector. Some examples of this are India, other Southeast Asian markets, and Brazil.
CRU's nitrogen team
CRU has a truly global team. As I mentioned, we have offices throughout the world. We also have a range of diverse backgrounds. As well as having specialists on the nitrogen market, we're supported in-house by an economics team, by a cost analyst, and by a fertilizer demand analyst.
One of the most rewarding parts of our approach to analysing the nitrogen industry is that we have a team of really curious and innovative analysts. When we apply that to our forward thinking about the market, really our ultimate aim is to help our clients navigate the opportunities and threats in the nitrogen industry.
Primary research: Why are site visits important to CRU?
A key part of our research is making sure that we do as many site visits as possible in order to corroborate our assumptions on the nitrogen market. A really good example of this is a recent tour we did of Chinese urea plants in order to understand the impact of government-mandated environmental inspections.