GCC fertilizers exports reach highs on global trade tensions

17 September 2018 16:09 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Fertilizer exports from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have set new records as market protectionism dominates global markets, the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Associations (GPCA) said on Monday

According to figures compiled by the industry body, fertilizers exports from the Arabian Gulf reached 20.4m tonnes in 2017, up 5.3% year on year, and at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2007 and 2017.

Growth in regional fertilizer trade comes in stark contrast to escalating market tensions and changing trade policies between major economic powers such as the US, EU and China, said GPCA.

The GCC crop nutrient industry remains heavily export-oriented, with shipments sent to 80 countries, mainly India, Brazil and the US, it added.

Asia accounted for 55% of total exports in 2017, followed by South America (21%), North America (15%), and Africa (7%).

GCC fertilizer production capacity is expected to reach 38.9m tonnes in 2018 and an estimated 47m tonnes by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7.7% between 2007-2017.

At 46%, Saudi Arabia is set to account for almost half of GCC fertilizers production this year, followed by Qatar (25%) and Oman (12%), with nearly 55,000 people employed directly or indirectly in fertilizer industry in the GCC countries.

Sales revenues grew a CAGR of 5.7% between 2010 and 2017, standing at $5.9bn in 2017, albeit down from a peak of $7.2bn in 2014 due to a drop in global fertilizer prices, the trade group added.

“Despite a continuing rise in global market protectionism, the Arabian Gulf enjoyed record fertilizer exports in 2017; cementing its position as a globally recognised hub for the production and export of fertilizers," said Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, GPCA's secretary general.

“To sustain and increase this growth, the industry would need to continue to explore new markets globally, and free trade will play a key role in ensuring its profitability and the sustainable development of the region, to which the industry is an important contributor.”

GPCA released the data on the eve of the ninth GPCA Fertilizer Convention in Muscat, Oman.

Picture source: PhotoAlto/REX/Shutterstock

By Richard Ewing