Brazil fertilizer imports to dip then rise after 2018

13 November 2013 18:04  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Increased investments to boost the production capacity of Brazil’s fertilizer sector will temporarily reduce the country’s dependence on imports, only for levels to rise again from 2018 as the domestic agricultural sector continues to expand, a Sao Paulo-based industry association said on Wednesday.

Investments in new plants over the coming years should reduce imports of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) fertilizers from current levels of around 70% of total domestic consumption to 59% by 2018, according to the Federacao das Industrias do Estado de Sao Paulo (Fiesp).

However, the ongoing expansion of Brazil’s agricultural sector and the rising demand for fertilizers products will push that figure back up to 63% by 2023, the association said.

“This situation takes into account the planned investments by (Brazil-based mining firm) Vale and (Brazil’s state-run energy company) Petrobras,” said Fiesp agribusiness manager Antonio Carlos Costa. “If these (investments) don’t materialise, the scenario will be even worse, with an even higher external dependence.”

Petrobras, Brazil’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producer, is currently building a 1.2m tonne/year urea plant in Tres Lagoas in the western state of Mato Grosso do Sul, with expected start-up in September 2014.

The company is also building a 303,000 tonne/year ammonia sulphate (AS) plant in the northeastern state of Sergipe, with two other plants in the states of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo currently under study.

Brazil is the fourth largest consumer of fertilizers in the world, with consumption from 2003 through 2012 rising by about 30% from 22.8m tonnes/year to 29.6m tonnes/year, according to the National Fertilizer Distribution Association (Anda).

By: Simon West

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