IFA '11: Brazil may show resistance to MOP price hikes

26 May 2011 14:14  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTREAL (ICIS)--Belarusian Potash Company’s 6% increase on international potash fertilizer prices, announced earlier this week during the International Fertilizer Association conference, may not be accepted quickly in Brazil, said one major Brazilian buyer late Wednesday.

Monday’s price announcement raised the spot prices for the region by $30/tonne (€21/tonne) CFR (cost and freight), though no deals have been concluded at this level as of yet.

Established international prices are $510/tonne CFR (cost and freight) for standard muriate of potash (MOP) and $525/tonne CFR for granular MOP. Brazil typically imports granular MOP.

BPC’s new price levels of $550/tonne CFR for large buyers and $560/tonne for small buyers reflects strong demand by end users as cash crop commodity prices continue to climb and producer inventories remain tight.

Global potash demand is pegged at around 55-60m tonnes and most producers are running close to production capacity in order to accommodate the demand. Major producers say they are already sold out through June.

The Brazilian buyer’s resistance to the price increase is echoed by Indian counterparts who have taken a hard-line position on MOP contract negotiations to contest the high prices offered by suppliers.

However, a major fertilizer producer in Brazil – which does not import MOP – said Brazilian demand can accommodate the price increases for potash. The country, a net potash importer, is expected to require 7m tonnes of potash this year.

The fertilizer producer further said the country prefers to stock up on the nutrient ahead of the major planting season August through October.

The prices set by BPC and Canada-based Canpotex, both dominant exporters of potash, serve as a benchmark for other global producers.

European potash producers have yet to increase prices for the third quarter, though an increase is expected by traders and has been talked about amongst market players for weeks.

Currently granular MOP prices in northwest Europe are at €353/tonne CIF (cost insurance freight), and prices for the specialty fertilizer sulphate of potash (SOP) are in the €400-€420/tonne FOB range.

($1 = €0.71)

For more on potash and fertilizers, visit ICIS pricing fertilizers

By: Lauren Williamson
+44 (0) 20 8652 3214

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