Bangladesh TSP import deal no threat to importers

23 September 2008 10:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The agreement between the governments of Bangladesh and Tunisia for the latter to supply 100,000 tonnes of phosphate fertilizer in the fourth quarter poses no threat to private importers, traders said on Tuesday.

The triple super phosphate (TSP) imported by the Bangladesh government would typically be $50-70/tonne more expensive than privately available product, the importers added.

"The government has not restricted private imports in any way," said a Bangladeshi trader source, who added that he had received assurances from the Bangladesh Fertilizer Association to this effect.

The agreement is for Groupe Chimique Tunisien (GCT) to supply the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corp (BADC) with TSP under a formula-priced agreement.

 "While I don’t know the exact nature of the formula," the source said, "fertilizer under this type of agreement is typically $50-70/tonne more than that available from the private sector," he said, "so we’re not really worried."

"It may be that BADC eventually dumps it into the local market, but this would be bad news for them as they would be making a loss."

What was of concern, however, was the complete lack of farmer off take from imported phosphate fertilizer stocks, the trader went on.

"We’ve not really been able to sell anything," he said, "because there has been a lot of smuggling of phosphates over the border from India."

"Farmers are getting fertilizer about two-thirds cheaper compared to the price of [legally] imported product."

The trader admitted that this was good news for farmers, but importers were sitting on 150,000 tonnes of TSP imports received in April-June.

The trader could not gauge the volume of smuggled product, but said that it was sufficiently high that off take from importers like him was virtually non-existent.

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By: Mike Nash
+44 20 8652 3214



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