InterviewAgrochemicals market to strengthen after 2009 blip

20 May 2009 15:52  [Source: ICIS news]

By Andy Brice

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LONDON (ICIS news)--Growth in the global agrochemicals market is expected to slow significantly in 2009 after achieving successive double-digit increases for the past two years, a consultant said on Wednesday.

However, although short-term growth would be restricted, returning to more realistic levels, market fundamentals remained strong, according to Gautam Sirur, director of UK-based consultancy and market research firm Cropnosis.

“We are not expecting a real slump. It’s really a stabilisation of the market because last year there was a big jump,” he said.

“Everyone thought that commodity prices would crash and that farmers would decide to plant less. We have been saying that we would expect this to taper off over three years rather than one; we would expect this to level off by 2010 or 2011,” added Sirur.

As with other sectors, the economic downturn has been primarily to blame for the about turn. The current financial crisis has not only had a detrimental effect on demand but also restricted credit for new investments.

Despite the crisis, however, agrochemicals firms appear less affected that those in other markets and remain in a strong position, he said

“We don’t think there will be any serious downturn unless of course there was a major drought or some kind of agro-climatic disaster. On the whole we do expect growth to continue,” said Sirur.

“We expect this to slow down in 2009 although there will be growth of about 5% over the next two years and maybe averaging 3% over the next five years,” he added.

For 2009, the North American market looks set to be the top performer, albeit with an expected sales increase of only 2.8% versus 17.3% in 2008, according to Cropnosis.

Latin America and Eastern Europe – previously boasting increases of 31.7% and 23.4% respectively – were also expected to see sales slip but should see growth in excess of 2%.

According to data from Cropnosis, Swiss-headquartered firm Syngenta achieved the highest sales for 2008 with $9.23bn (€6.76bn), overtaking Germany’s Bayer CropScience at $8.68bn for the first time.

Monsanto in the US ($5.00bn), BASF of Germany ($4.99bn) and US-based Dow AgroSciences ($4.07bn) formed the rest of the world’s top five firms.

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By: Andy Brice
+44 20 8652 3214

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