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Argus Media, a London-based publisher of commodity information and news, announced June 30 that it is establishing a new price report for urea barge shipments in New Orleans.

Argus said the new price “is bringing much needed transparency to this key hub, which serves as an index for prices paid by U.S. farmers, industrial consumers and the fertilizer futures market.”

New Orleans has a key role in fertilizer markets as a highly liquid trading point, and trade prices are referenced widely. Millions of tons are imported annually from the Middle East, north Africa and the Baltic, before being loaded onto river barges for shipment up the Mississippi River. These barges are traded and re-traded on a 'FOB Nola' basis, and the prices have become a key reference for regional and global markets in fertilizer, diesel exhaust fluid and other industrial sectors.

Argus said it has “worked with the industry to develop this new weekly price to improve transparency and provide a more robust index. The price is a volume-weighted average of deals done and includes only trades for release within the calendar month. The price reflects real market activity and will represent actual trades done each week.”

The new price can be used as a benchmark to underpin futures contract settlement as well as an index for imported cargoes, industrial pricing and domestic supply contracts. It is published weekly in the Argus Nitrogen service.

Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said, "We are delighted to have worked with the industry to develop this new price for the world's largest fertilizer market. The volume-weighted average approach is something we have used in other commodity markets. It gives market participants confidence that the assessment reflects real activity. Argus always assesses prices appropriately to suit market conditions.”

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