Oct. 11, 2016
SQM Chile joined rival potash producers in seeing a rise in prices of the fertilizer ahead, amid signs that values are indeed reviving from decade lows after the signing of key supply deals.
Chilean-based SQM, which is listed in New York, said that "we have some [potash] price recovery", after extended talks between producers and Chinese and Indian buyers have since mid-July seen a series of supply deals agreed.
The annual agreements between exporters and China, the top importer, and second-ranked India are viewed as particularly important to the industry, setting price benchmarks around which values paid by other buyers are negotiated, and often releasing pent-up buyer demand. "We expect an increase in average prices of [potash] during the second half of the year," SQM said.
'Can't keep up with supply'
The comments echo similar price forecasts from the likes of North American rivals Mosaic and PotashCorp, which is a major shareholder in SQM. And they come amid some evidence from other sources that price rises are indeed coming through, with Credit Suisse, for instance, last week reporting a month-on-month rise of $3, to $230 a tonne, in Brazilian values � albeit still representing a drop of 16% year on year.
South East Asian prices, however, were flat at $235 a tonne, according to the bank, down 19% year on year. Separately, broker Raymond James on Monday pegged US Midwest prices at $248 a tonne - up $13 a tonne week on week � flagging the boost to values from the recent export deals. "Midwest prices continue to rise higher as producers seek to capitalise on the Chinese and Indian contracts," it said. The broker has also highlighted talk that Canpotex, the North American potash export cartel, "can't keep up with supply as inventories remain slim", following production cutbacks prompted by weak values.