The week that ended on March 18, 2016, was favorable for companies that produce phosphate fertilizer. But nitrogen producers had a relatively sluggish week. In this six-part weekly update series, we’ll look at the fundamentals for phosphate producers.
Let’s look first at how some of the companies performed last week:
- Mosaic (MOS): rose 3.5% to $29.70
- PotashCorp (POT): rose 3.5% to $18.90 – The company produces all three NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) fertilizers.
- Agrium (AGU): rose 3.3% to $92 – The company retails agricultural fertilizers.
- Israel Chemicals (ICL): fell 1.1% to $4.40
The SPDR S&P North American Natural Resources ETF (NANR), a broader portfolio, rose 4.6% to $30.40 last week. NANR invests 8.1% in chemicals. Oil and gas make up its largest sector holdings of about 43%. The overall market benchmark, the S&P 500, rose 1.3% last week.
Importance of phosphates
Phosphate fertilizers are the second most important fertilizer in the NPK macronutrients required for crops. Farmers around the world use a variety of phosphate fertilizers, depending on the type of soil and the crops they’re planting. The most common phosphate fertilizer uses MAP (monoammonium phosphate), DAP (diammonium phosphate), and TSP (trisodium phosphate).
In this weekly price update series, we’ll review the price trends for key phosphate fertilizers such as DAP and MAP. We’ll also look at factors such as the cost of raw materials that affect the margins of phosphate fertilizer producers.