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Updated to Q4 2020
MOP supplies into Asia in the final quarter of 2020 were weaker than in Q3, as palm oil production in many southeast Asian nations declined, amid ongoing controversy surrounding the product.
Southeast Asian potash demand was weaker in Q4 2020, as issues with the region’s key export – palm oil – weighed on plantations’ bottom line. Some were forced to either pay workers or restock inventories. In wider Asia, Beijing ordered Chinese traders to supply MOP to the national reserve, as 2021-2022 annual contract talks loomed.
European MOP supply was stable in Q4, with no restrictions in availability heard in the market. Q4 is typically a slower period for fertilizer demand and production in Europe. Some tonnes were redirected to the US, where demand was firmer.
European MOP demand declined from Q3, as the fourth quarter of the year is traditionally a slower period for fertilizer production. Restocking activity is also limited during this period. Producers’ production capacity was stable, although there was talk of tonnes being moved via export to the US, where demand was unusually firm.
US potash supply became depleted on the back of unprecedented high demand midway through the quarter. Some producers were sold out through the end of Q4 and beyond.
US potash demand increased significantly during the quarter as a result of good weather throughout the crop planting regions. During the end of Q4, demand trailed off as producers sold out and most buyers were stocked up for post-winter application.
Updated to Q1 2021
Potash supplies into Asia will increase in Q1, as price rises loom for the key annual benchmark India and China long-term supply contracts. Buyers, wary of upcoming upward pressure on offers, will move to secure tonnes. Despite this, large-volume buyers such as Indonesia’s PT Pupuk were unable to source tonnes to their usual volume requirements.
Q1 potash demand in southeast Asia will increase, as buyers look to secure tonnes ahead of an expected price increase in the key bellwether India and China long-term contract talks.
European MOP supply is likely to remain stable into Q1 2021, despite early signs of increased demand for fertilizers from key importing nations including Brazil and some parts of southeast Asia. It is likely European producers will keep tight capacity control on their mines and granulation plants.
European demand for MOP is likely to increase in Q1 2021, as the region prepares for spring planting and farmers return to suppliers to restock inventories.
North American potash supply will remain constrained throughout Q1 after the end-year buying spree and price increases. At least one major producer is sold out through the end of March.
Potash demand in the US will be low at the beginning of Q1 amid winter weather, but as the months progress there will likely be increased demand as another round of buying emerges for end-quarter application.
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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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