Cornhusker Economics




By John C. Beghin

Introduction


This article updates the recent article on world fertilizer markets by Beghin and Nogueira (2021), which noted the perfect storm affecting global fertilizer markets through high demand, droughts affecting fertilizer supply, high fossil energy prices, Covid 19-related supply-chain disruptions, and trade policies, all conspiring to elevate fertilizer nominal prices to levels not seen since 2008. In the last 10 months, the Ukraine-Russia war and associated trade sanctions have exacerbated the disruptions in fossil energy, grain, vegetable oil, and fertilizer markets already present in 2021. On the more hopeful side, some US trade policy developments will help reduce US fertilizer prices. Trade restrictions put in place by some countries are concerning.

The article reviews what is happening in fertilizer and natural gas prices, a key ingredient in the making of many fertilizer mixes. Then it looks at fertilizer affordability relative to crop prices. A discussion of recent trade policy developments abroad and in the US and their effects on energy, agricultural commodity and fertilizer prices completes the update.


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