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Ammonium nitrate price index
This post is a summary of the ammonium nitrate price developments. The price developments of ammonium nitrate are expressed in US$ prices converted FX rates applicable at the time when the price was valid. Ammonium nitrate price index developments are calculated from multiple separate sources of data to ensure statistical accuracy.
The outlook for ammonium nitrate prices, on the second tab, is generated from different inputs including:
- Very recent price developments of immediate cost drivers of ammonium nitrate prices
- Recent price developments of underlying feedstocks which drive the price of ammonium nitrate
- Market futures for both cost drives and feedstocks of ammonium nitrate prices
- Adjustment of current supply/demand imbalances in the ammonium nitrate market
- Longer term trends in likely demand conditions
Further information on the Ammonium nitrate price index
What is ammonium nitrate
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula NH4NO3. It is a white crystalline solid that is highly soluble in water. Ammonium nitrate is commonly used as a fertilizer and as an ingredient in explosive mixtures.
As a fertilizer, ammonium nitrate provides a source of nitrogen that can be easily absorbed by plants. It is a popular choice for many farmers and gardeners because of its high nitrogen content and relatively low cost.
Ammonium nitrate is also used in the production of explosives, such as in mining and construction. When mixed with fuel oil, it forms a highly explosive mixture that is commonly known as ANFO (ammonium nitrate fuel oil). ANFO is commonly used in blasting operations to break up rock and soil.
However, ammonium nitrate is highly reactive and can be dangerous if not handled properly. It has been involved in several major industrial accidents, including the explosion in Beirut in 2020, which killed over 200 people and injured thousands more.
How is ammonium nitrate produced
Ammonium nitrate is produced by combining ammonia gas (NH3) and nitric acid (HNO3) in a reactor vessel. The reaction between these two chemicals produces ammonium nitrate and water (H2O) as byproducts:
NH3 + HNO3 → NH4NO3
The reaction is exothermic, meaning it releases heat, and the temperature of the mixture can increase rapidly. To control the temperature and prevent a runaway reaction, the production process typically involves adding the nitric acid slowly to the ammonia, while cooling the mixture with water or refrigerant.
The resulting ammonium nitrate solution is then evaporated and crystallized to produce solid ammonium nitrate. The crystals are typically sorted by size and screened to remove any impurities. The final product is a white crystalline solid that is typically sold in granular or prilled form.
It’s worth noting that the production of ammonium nitrate should be done with caution, as the process can be hazardous due to the high reactivity and potential for explosions. Proper safety measures must be taken to ensure the safety of workers and the surrounding environment.
What are the key feedstocks of Ammonium nitrate
The primary feedstocks for Ammonium nitrate are Ammonia Gas and Nitric acid
The production of ammonia gas are natural gas and steam. In a process called the Haber-Bosch process, natural gas (which is mostly methane, CH4) and steam are reacted together in the presence of a catalyst to produce hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO), which are then reacted with nitrogen gas (N2) from the air to produce ammonia (NH3):
N2 + 3H2 → 2NH3
The ammonia produced in this process is typically purified and compressed to produce ammonia gas, which can then be used as a feedstock for other chemical reactions.
The primary feedstock for the production of nitric acid is ammonia gas. In the Ostwald process, ammonia is oxidized to produce nitric oxide (NO), which is then further oxidized to produce nitrogen dioxide (NO2):
4NH3 + 5O2 → 4NO + 6H2O
2NO + O2 → 2NO2
The nitrogen dioxide is then absorbed in water to produce nitric acid:
3NO2 + H2O → 2HNO3 + NO
So, in summary, the feedstocks for the production of ammonium nitrate are natural gas and air (for the production of ammonia gas) and ammonia gas (for the production of nitric acid).
What is ammonium nitrate used for
Ammonium nitrate has a variety of uses, including:
Ammonium nitrate is a common source of nitrogen in fertilizers, which are used to promote plant growth. The nitrogen in ammonium nitrate is easily absorbed by plants, making it an effective fertilizer.
Ammonium nitrate is a key ingredient in many explosives, including the commonly used ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil) mixture. ANFO is widely used in mining, quarrying, and construction to break up rocks and soil.
Ammonium nitrate can be used to make cold packs. When mixed with water, the reaction is endothermic, which means it absorbs heat, causing the pack to become cold.
Ammonium nitrate is sometimes used as a food preservative to prevent spoilage.
Ammonium nitrate can be used to store gas, such as hydrogen, as a solid.
Ammonium nitrate is sometimes used in wastewater treatment plants to remove pollutants from water.
Which countries produce the most ammonium nitrate
According to the latest available data, the countries that produce the most ammonium nitrate are:
China is the largest producer of ammonium nitrate in the world, with an estimated production of over 17 million metric tons in 2019.
Russia is the second-largest producer of ammonium nitrate, with an estimated production of over 6 million metric tons in 2019.
Ukraine is the third-largest producer of ammonium nitrate, with an estimated production of over 4 million metric tons in 2019.
The United States is the fourth-largest producer of ammonium nitrate, with an estimated production of over 3 million metric tons in 2019.
Canada is the fifth-largest producer of ammonium nitrate, with an estimated production of over 1.5 million metric tons in 2019.
Other major producers of ammonium nitrate include India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Australia.
How big is the ammonium nitrate market
The global market for ammonium nitrate is significant, with an estimated value of over USD 20 billion in 2020. The market is driven primarily by the use of ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer, as agriculture is the largest end-use industry for ammonium nitrate. The demand for ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer is expected to continue to grow, as the global population increases and demand for food rises.
In addition to its use as a fertilizer, ammonium nitrate is also used in the mining and construction industries as an explosive, as well as in the production of cold packs, food preservatives, and other applications.
The market for ammonium nitrate is highly competitive, with many major players in the industry, including Yara International ASA, EuroChem Group, CF Industries Holdings Inc., Orica Limited, and others. The market is also affected by factors such as regulations, trade policies, and global economic conditions.
According to https://oec.world/ :
Ammonium nitrate, including solution, in pack >10 kg are the world’s 1266th most traded product.
In 2020, the top exporters of Ammonium nitrate, including solution, in pack >10 kg were Russia ($644M), United States ($105M), Bulgaria ($89.9M), Lithuania ($89.4M), and Georgia ($80.4M).
In 2020, the top importers of Ammonium nitrate, including solution, in pack >10 kg were Brazil ($245M), Romania ($75.4M), Canada ($70.7M), India ($62.7M), and United Kingdom ($61.5M).
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Notes on the price-data
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