Prices for nitrogen fertilizers have more than recovered from the demand shock of the coronavirus pandemic, reaching highs not seen in years due to strong grain markets.

Urea, a common nitrogen type that reflects global fertilizer prices, is trading at about $450 per short ton along the Gulf of Mexico wholesale market, compared to less than $200 per short ton roughly a year ago.

Activity in the nitrogen market is hectic even though it’s not traditionally the season for intense fertilizer demand, said Julie Meehan, managing editor of fertilizers at the ICIS commodity market analysis service.

“We should be in a quiet period when we should see prices coming down,” she said. “That’s not the case. It’s really frantic.”

The demand for nitrogen fertilizers has risen along with the prices of grain,…

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