'Perfect storm' boosts near-term US potash demand - Mosaic exec

17 November 2010 22:28  [Source: ICIS news]

SAVANNAH, Georgia (ICIS)--Near-term US demand for potash fertilizer was driven by a “perfect storm” for the market in the North American autumn season, an executive with US fertilizer major Mosaic said on Wednesday.

"High grain prices, high demand, an empty pipeline, and an early harvest created a perfect storm that drove US farmers to buy and apply potash this fall, and place their orders for next spring," said Mosaic vice president Mike Rahm.

Rahm spoke at this week's Fertilizer Outlook and Technology Conference, held by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).

Potash fundamentals remained very tight, and MOSAIC expected world shipments to reach 55m tonnes in 2011, up from 49m tonnes shipped in 2010, Rahm said.

Mosaic predicted China would import 6–8m tonnes of potash in 2011 after importing about 5m tonnes in 2010.

Rahm said India would import 6.5m tonnes in 2011, up from 6m tonnes in 2010.

Brazil is expected to import 6.2m–6.7m tonnes in 2011, up from 6m this year, Mosaic said.

Meanwhile, North American potash exports are expected to increase to 10.2m tonnes next year, up from about 8m in 2010, Rahm said.

North American agriculture interests should consume 10m tonnes of potash next year, up by 1m tonnes from 2010, he said.

Application rates for corn, soybean and wheat were expected at average levels, Rahmnoted.

About half of the North American demand was satisfied this autumn, with the second half of the demand to be filled in the spring, Rahm said.

Rahm said he expected the potash market to remain tight until new capacity comes online later in the decade.

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By: Frank Zaworski
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