Russians hike potash prices for India 32% one day after Canpotex inks deal

Russia's Uralkali, who together with Belaruskali and North-American producers represented by Canpotex, control almost 60% of world production, said on Thursday its trading company raised prices for India by 32%.

Uralkali's export arm will supply 1.2 million tonnes to India at $490/tonne (up from $370/tonne) through the end of March 2012. On Wednesday arduous negotiations between Canpotex and India ended in a two-step deal that increases the export price to $470/tonne for the fourth quarter and adding another $60/tonne next year.

India has some 55 million small farmers and is the world's number one importer at over 6 million tonnes per year.

According to Bloomberg, Canpotex, the global marketing and distribution company for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Mosaic and Agrium, agreed on Wednesday to sell potash to India at $470 a tonne in the fourth quarter for 50% of the shipments and $530 a tonne during from next year. The deal follows months of difficult negotiations and ends the moratorium on potash imports declared by the Fertilizer Association of India in April.

Last month Mosaic’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Prokopanko in reference to talks with India that broke down at the end of June said the Canpotex “cupboard is bare” and that "there’s nothing to talk about until we have a better assessment of what’s going to be available.”

Canpotex together with Russia’s Uralkali and Beluraskali's export arm account for around 57% of global supply. India is the world’s number one importer at over 6 million tonnes per annum. Scotiabank said in its commodities report released last week that spot prices for standard grade potash leaving the port of Vancouver, already up $111/tonne since the end of last year and could reach $600/tonne before the end of 2011.

Image of Russian miners inside a Uralkali potash mine courtesy of the company. Uralkali, which merged with Silvinit earlier this year to create a $24 billion giant and has a history dating back to 1925, mines potassium and magnesium deposits located in Berezniki, Perm and St. Petersburg Russia.