LAHORE - Dealers and farmers have started procuring urea for Rabi season, that is likely to surge urea sales by 1.76x YoY to 497k tons during Sep 2018. Higher urea sales are underpinned by lower base affect, as last year seasonal buying started earlier due to attractive discounts. Further, another reason for higher sales could be stock hoarding by dealers/farmers as industry players signaled about probable hike of Rs130/bag in urea prices due to increase in gas prices. This will take 9M2018 urea sales to close flat YoY, while excluding last year export, YTD sales are likely to post growth 9% YoY growth.

Company wise, Fatima Fertilizer remained outperformer in domestic sales of Sep 2018 as in similar period of last year, the company was focusing on its exports to offload its inventory as local market dynamics were weak, as per our channel checks.

During 9M2018, FFC and EFERT both gained 5ppts YoY each in their urea market shares which stood at 45% and 36% respectively as manufacturing facilities of few players (Agritech and FatimaFert) remained closed amid unavailability of natural gas and unviability of their operations on expensive RLNG plants.