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Suffering Potash? Where It’s Headed in 2017

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Potash demand

In the preceding part, we examined the demand forecasts for key crops. But to increase the yields of corn, wheat, and soybeans, fertilizers are key. (Read Market Realist’s series Agricultural Fertilizer Industry: Your Comprehensive Overview to learn more.) In this part, we’ll discuss demand projections and the price outlook for potash fertilizers.

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Forecast

For 2017, Mosaic (MOS) forecasts that global potash demand to be in the range of 61 million–63 million metric tons. This level would be higher than in 2016, when demand estimates were slightly lower than 60 million metric tons.

Similarly, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (POT) projects that the 2017 potash demand will be in the range of 61 million–64 million metric tons.

Price outlook

In 2017, some potash capacity projects are estimated to be completed. Potash capacity expansion can have a lead time of anywhere between seven and ten years. These projects were initiated almost a decade ago, when conditions were more favorable for capacity expansion.

But this industry (SOIL) is cyclical, and so potash fertilizer producers such as PotashCorp, Israel Chemicals (ICL), and Agrium (AGU) that have excess capacities can sometimes get absorbed as demand equates with supply over the coming years. That said, the price outlook for potash fertilizers remains weak for 2017 as prices have been pressured by a supply-demand imbalance. 

Notably, you can track prices weekly at Market Realist, starting with the series Fertilizer Stocks Were Mixed for the Week Ending March 31.

Continue to the next part for a closer look at phosphates.

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