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Updated to Q2 2020
Potash availability into southeast Asia was poor in Q2. Demand from the region has been weak since Q2 2019. Declining CPO prices were behind the weak demand in H2 2019, as plantation owners looked to retain staff over purchasing fresh MOP imports. In mid-to-late Q2 2020, a large-volume import tender issued by Indonesia’s PT Pupuk offered price direction to the market.
Southeast Asian buyers were largely absent from the market in Q2 2020, with demand from plantations notably lacklustre on a combination of low palm oil prices, political unrest and cashflow concerns. As the coronavirus spread across the globe and nations tightened lockdowns, demand was further suppressed – apart from a large-volume purchase tender issued by Indonesia’s PT Pupuk.
MOP supply was stable in Q2 as producers’ anti-coronavirus measures were firmly established; allowing regular production to resume. Logistics were relatively unaffected, although shipments leaving the continent were prone to delays at destination ports.
Potash demand was stable in Q2, bucking the trend seen for many other chemicals. Because fertilizers were deemed essential by governments, farmers were able to stock up on tonnes with relative ease. That said, volumes sold were below expectations and because many sectors that consume cash crops such as potatoes were shut down, an oversupply may build into Q3.
Supply of potash increased over the quarter as the demands of the spring planting season carried forward. As such, there was more urgency for volumes to get to the fields, especially as the period progressed and the pace of sowings rose. Despite shutdowns due to the pandemic, inventory availability and the supply chain was mostly unaffected.
Spring faced challenging weather conditions at the start and saw sowings and demand run a little later than normal. Still, farmers planted increased acreage year on year, resulting in more buying and applications compared with Q2 2019. There was also the conclusion of a producer summer refill programme, which saw robust buying during the end of the period.
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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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