Global Urea Market size is projected to witness a considerable upsurge over 2021-2027, driven by escalating adoption in the automotive sector to efficiently remove toxic substances during diesel fuel combustion, alongside its high compliance with Euro6 and other environmental standards. Moreover, growing demand for controlled-release urea solutions to increase crop yield, nitrogen utilization, economic return, as well as reduce nitrogen loss during the wheat-maize crop rotations will further augment the industry outlook. In 2021, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited unveiled a Nano Urea Liquid to help farmers enhance the nutritional quality of the plants.
Urea, also known as carbamide, refers to an organic compound commonly used in fertilizer, feed supplement, as well as starting material in manufacturing plastics and drugs. It is a colorless crystalline substance with high nitrogen content, resulting in its increased consumption as one of the highly concentrated nitrogenous fertilizers.
High awareness about the use of urea in cosmetics and skincare products for its exfoliating and moisturizing properties, the accelerating adoption of urea fertilizers to curb environmental pollutions, and the extensive product usage for the treatment of nail diseases are fostering the overall urea market trends. Topical products including ointments, lacquers, gels, and creams that consist of 40%-50% urea have been effectively used to boost nail permeability, soften nail plates, and enhance the penetration of drugs like antimycotic agents.
In terms of segmentation by end-use, the medical sector will hold a significant share of urea industry by 2027, considering the capability of urea topicals to soften dry or rough skin caused by different skin conditions such as keratosis, psoriasis, and eczema. The segment expansion will also be bolstered by the product’s ability to soften damaged toenails or fingernails, thus reducing the need to undergo surgery for removal.
With regards to region, the North America urea market is expected to account for a major share by 2027, due to the rapid expansion of the healthcare industry and the escalating agricultural activities fostering GDP growth, especially in the U.S. As per reliable statistics, the agriculture, food, and other related industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the country’s GDP in 2019.
The competitive landscape of the global urea industry comprises of companies such as Koch Fertilizer, SABIC (Saudi Aramco), CF Industries, Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO), Petrobras, KBR Inc., BASF, OCI Nitrogen, EuroChem, CNPC (SASAC), Chemiplastica, BIP (Oldbury) Limited, Agrium (Nutrien), Jiangsu Sanmu, Acron, Potash Corporation, and Yara International, Inc., among others. These companies are incorporating strategies like new product launches and M&A to expand their business footprint and reinforce their position across the global market.
For instance, in May 2021, Yara launched OptiSpray, a product based on 32.5% urea solution with high compliance to AdBlue’s ISO 22241 standard, designed to prevent deposit formation in the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) systems. In another case, Acron commissioned a new 700,000-tpy urea granulation unit in Russia in May 2020, with an objective to expand the portfolio of premium granulated urea and improve production flexibility to better meet its escalating demand in the market.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted various sectors of business worldwide, including the agriculture industry, due to the slow economic growth. The decline in the global economy and income is likely to affect the overall food security, trade, farm livelihoods, and food consumption. Studies suggest that the calorie demand per capita will fall by 1% across the globe, which in turn, will create challenges to the steady growth of the urea industry over the coming years.
However, robust adoption and presence of strong suppliers for fertilizers, even during the coronavirus crisis, owing to the consistent purchase of commercial nutrients for crops by farmers globally, may help push the demand for urea fertilizers in the upcoming years. For example, China is the largest consumer of fertilizer across the globe, consuming up to 50 million tons per year, with its urea business being relatively less impacted by the pandemic.