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Updated to Q1 2020
Europe is expected to be well supplied in the first quarter, as all major producers are focusing on the continent to achieve better netbacks. Especially Russian producers will be shipping product to the domestic and regional markets which will be seasonally active. Moreover, in the absence of major demand elsewhere globally producers from Africa and the Middle East are going to be sending product to their customers in time for the spring season.
Demand for phosphates in Europe is expected to rise in the first quarter due to increasing buying interest for spring application. Buyers are expected to return to the market soon to fulfil seasonal demand and also because purchases in 2019 were delayed and did not reach the levels compared to other years. Phosphates requirements for spring are not covered yet in most countries and producers are looking at Europe in the absence of international demand.
With the limited movement during the last quarter, it will be imperative that volumes be positioned early for the upcoming start of spring. Logistic issues will improve as winter retreats, especially once the Mississippi river re-opens. With some post-harvest applications missed, there will be inventory immediately at hand, but those volumes will likely be consumed rapidly.
Heading into the spring season there is an overall sentiment that if typical weather patterns are present, there will be a sizeable increase in acres planted, which will equal a sizable lift in fertilizer usage. Part of the surge in buying is expected because deferred inputs and weather extremes have depleted nutrient levels.
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