US Mosaic sees Chinese potash inventories dwindle

23 July 2009 16:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Dwindling potash inventories could drive buyers in China back to the import market within weeks or months, US-based Mosaic executives said during the company’s earnings report on Thursday.

“It’s not a matter of time; it’s a matter of volume. Within the next few weeks to months, China should be back in the potash market,” said Jim Prokopanko, CEO of the fertilizer major.

“I suppose at the extreme China might not buy this year and might struggle to get to the end of the calendar year, but stocks are getting low,” he said.

The comments followed an 83% drop in Mosic's net income during its fiscal fourth quarter of 2009, compared with the same period of 2008.

An unusually volatile year, lower phosphorus prices and weak agricultural demand for potash caused the downturn, the company said, adding that it estimated current global capacity utilisation in the 40-50% range for potash.

China is a net importer of potash, producing only 3.0m tonnes/year of the fertilizer component.

China imported 9.5m tonnes in 2007 and 5.5m tonnes in 2008. The Chinese government was heard to be limiting 2009 imports to about 7m tonnes.

Mosaic’s stock was trading higher by 4.48% on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at $50.59/share, following the company’s earnings report.

($1 = €0.70)

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By: Landon Feller
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