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Updated to Q2 2021
MOP supplies into Asia in Q2 declined as higher netbacks to Latin America pulled granular stock away and led to European producers increasing the volume of granular production generally. As such, standard-grade MOP was particularly tight. Imports from smaller players, including those in Laos, were unable to meet the large-volume orders heard in Indonesia.
Southeast Asian potash demand increased in the Q2. Large-volume tenders were heard, although the volumes required were smaller than expected and, in some cases, the full requirement was not met.
MOP supply declined in Q2 as producers maintained tight production control amid good demand. Exports to high-netback nations including Brazil were also notably increased, further tightening availability. Granular production was a priority for many European players.
MOP demand in Q2 increased from Q1, as spring weather arrived and farmers took to their fields. Restocking activity was strong. Unlike competing fertilizers, potash pricing was largely stable to firm throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supply remained tight heading into Q2, still dealing with the effects of 2020 year-end stocking activity. Multiple major suppliers sold out their summer fill programmes during the quarter.
Strong demand was sustained during Q2, which supported rapidly increasing price levels. Firm crop prices and bullish fertilizer markets on a global level supported the demand.
Updated to Q3 2021
Potash supplies into Asia will continue to decline in Q3. However, buyers, wary of upcoming upward pressure on offers stemming from ongoing tight supply and sanctions on some Belarusian potash exports, will likely push to secure tonnes. Producers’ offers are expected to increase considerably.
Q3 potash demand in southeast Asia will increase as buyers move to secure material amid fears of disrupted supply from Belarus, high netbacks offered by sales into Latin America and the US pulling material away from southeast Asia. India’s imports are 30% behind compared with this time last year.
MOP availability is expected to tighten in Q3 on a combination of high netbacks on tonnes to Latin America pulling volumes away and EU sanctions on Belarusian potash. Although the sanctions impact only around 20% of Belarus’ production – and exclude the most-sold product – the reduced tonnage will be felt on the market.
Demand for MOP will remain steady in Q3, as planting accelerates amid warmer weather and farmers restock inventories. Concerns about availability from Belarus may trigger additional purchasing activity.
There is mixed sentiment regarding potash supply in North America during Q3. On one hand, Canadian producer Nutrien announced an extra 1m tonnes of production. On the other hand, during Q2, Mosaic announced the immediate closure of its K1 and K2 potash mine shafts at its Esterhazy project in Saskatchewan, Canada.
There is little sign of potash demand trailing off during Q3, as suppliers have remained in mostly sold-out positions during the years so far and crop prices are bullish.
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Potash or Potassium (K) is the seventh most common naturally-occurring element in nature, and it is one of the three main macronutrients required for plants…
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