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Updated to Q3 2017
Like many regions around the globe, the southeast Asian potash market suffered from availability concerns in Q3, owing largely to the key producers’ need to fulfil large contracted volumes for China and India – two key potash-consuming nations. This left southeast Asia short of the vital crop nutrient on the spot market, pushing up prices. Meanwhile, a bumper palm oil crop in certain areas of southeast Asia led farmers to approach potash producers and suppliers to acquire additional volumes, further pressuring prices.
Asian demand is constant and at a high level, with the region’s agricultural and palm oil industries a notable draw on global potash production. Towards the end of September, it was understood a key tender in Indonesia – Sinar Mas’ requirement for 100,000 tonnes of muriate of potash (MOP) – led several producers to hold back spot potash volumes in the region, in preparation for the announcement of the victor. The losing parties would then be free to meet additional ready business in the region.
Updated to Q3 2017
European potash supply was steady in Q3. However, the region’s low-season meant very few buyers were active in the market. Towards mid-September, a number of participants returned seeking product, but were surprised to find little potash available on the spot market, as producers were instead focused on meeting contracted volumes to India and China. Market sentiment indicates that producers are exercising restraint on production volumes – wary of a potential price decline on oversupply – and that this caution has contributed considerably to the tightness abroad throughout mainland Europe.
European potash demand was extremely limited in Q3, owing to a seasonal slowdown across Europe’s agricultural industry. However, towards the end of the quarter, buyers returning to the market were left short of required volumes, owing to availability concerns. While more product has since been shipped to the region to meet burgeoning demand – with many enquiries originating in eastern Europe in particular – tight supply continues to limit business. This could become a concern for European distributors and buyers, especially ahead of expected restocking ahead of Spring planting and seasonal fertilizer application.
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