Nutrien says potash will remain tight even as Russia ships more

Image courtesy of Nutrien.

Global potash will remain tight even as more buyers shed their fear of buying from Russia and Belarus, according to a top fertilizer maker’s chief executive officer.

Supplies from Russia may remain as much as 20% below 2021 levels even as access to export markets grow into the coming year, Ken Seitz, interim CEO of Nutrien Ltd. said in a Thursday interview. Shipments from Belarus may lag as the nation doesn’t have port access. Its production could fall by as much as half, he said. The two nations are among the top-three largest producers of the crop nutrient.

“We’re going to have pent-up demand,” Setiz said in an a telephone interview. “We’re going to have soils craving potash.”

Prices soared earlier this year to multiyear highs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiled markets. Many potash buyers avoided Russian supplies for fear of getting wrapped up in international sanctions. However, fertilizer sales have so far escaped the types of bans levied against other commodities. Wholesale prices are dipping as Russian product finds its way into global markets.

Weekly wholesale US Cornbelt potash prices and Brazil potash prices both fell to the lowest since March for the week ending July 29, according to Bloomberg’s Green Markets.

Nutrien has said it will ramp up potash production capability to 18 million tons by 2025, a 40% increase compared to 2020. Farmers will buy more potash if it’s available, Seitz said.

(By Jen Skerritt and Elizabeth Elkin)

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