Pakistan wants to import 200,000 metric tonnes of urea

Chemical fertilizer Urea Stock pile jumbo-bag in a warehouse waiting for shipment.

According to market sources, Pakistan will likely import 200,000 metric tonnes of urea to meet the expected shortfall in late December or early January 2024 during the Rabi season (October to March). However, it is yet to be decided whether the imports will be commenced through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) or on a Government-to-government basis. The urea shortage in Pakistan usually crops up when local urea plants go for annual plant turnaround for maintenance and gas shortage. In order to proceed with the imports, the Ministry of Industries and Production has yet to request approvals from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and Pakistan’s government.

Local research group Spectrum Research, referring to the data from the National Fertilizer Development Center, said the Rabi 2023-24 season is expected to begin with 77,000 metric tonnes of urea, while the total availability of urea is estimated at 3.027 million metric tonnes, 2.950 million metric tonnes of which will be covered by domestic production.

Urea demand during Rabi 2023-24 is projected to be around 3.335 million metric tonnes, showing a deficit of 509,000 metric tonnes (including 200,000 tonnes of buffer stocks) during the season. This shortage can be covered by shifting the supplies of the system gas to the two urea plants from October 15, 2023, until the end of the Rabi season, along with the timely import of 200,000 tonnes to ensure smooth supplies during peak demand in December 2023 and January 2023. Alternatively, there could be an option to import 500,000 metric tonnes of urea to cover the market demand.

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