In 4Q17, the trend in potash shipments was similar to phosphate shipment trends. 4Q17 was the third quarter sequentially to see a decline in year-over-year shipment levels.
Overall shipments in 4Q17 for five companies fell ~13% year-over-year. In the previous quarter, the shipment growth for these companies was flat and 7% in the quarter before. In 4Q16, overall shipments rose 15% for these companies.
Shipments by company
Mosaic Company (MOS) saw steep growth in potash shipments year-over-year to 2.2 million metric tons compared to 2.0 million metric tons in 4Q16. Similarly, Agrium (AGU) (NTR) also experienced year-over-year growth in shipments by 5% to 620 thousand metric tons from 590 thousand metric tons a year ago.
In contrast, the remaining three companies experienced a year-over-year decline in shipments. PotashCorp (POT), which is one of the largest producers of potash fertilizers, experienced a 14% year-over-year decline in shipment volumes to 1.9 million metric tons from 2.2 million metric tons a year ago. Israel Chemicals (ICL) experienced a 13% year-over-year decline to 1.5 million metric tons from 1.7 million metric tons.
Intrepid Potash (IPI) was the biggest loser with a shipment volume decline by as much as 30% year-over-year to 110 thousand metric tons from a year ago.
Next, we’ll discuss how potash prices (MOO) performed in this quarter.