Potash seller Canpotex aims for ‘material’ price bump from China

Mon Apr 10, 2017

6:10pm EDT




Potash seller Canpotex aims for ‘material’ price bump from China


FILE PHOTO: A Canpotex rail car waits to be loaded with potash at the Rocanville Potash Corp mine in Saskatchewan September 30, 2010. REUTERS/David Stobbe

Canadian potash exporter Canpotex Ltd is pressing Chinese buyers to pay a “material” price increase for the fertilizer in their annual supply contract, as spot values in other markets rise off multi-year lows, Canpotex’s chief executive said on Monday.

“We’re not interested in some kind of ratcheting down. That is for sure,” CEO Ken Seitz told Reuters in a telephone interview from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Canpotex, owned by miners Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc, Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc, is based.

Global potash prices remain weak due to excessive capacity and sagging farm incomes but a modest price rebound since late last year and lower year-over-year Chinese potash inventories suggest buyers there should pay more, Seitz said.

Canpotex sells potash produced by the companies in the province of Saskatchewan to offshore markets.

“If you look at the global market compared to a year ago, it’s much improved,” said Seitz, a former uranium mining executive. The price gains and supply cuts by some producers “allow us to have an expectation for a material price increase in China,” he said.

He declined to clarify what price increase Canpotex is seeking.

In an April 4 note, BMO analyst Joel Jackson factored in $5 per tonne price increases from Chinese and Indian buyers, to $224 and $232 per tonne respectively.

Those prices would fall “well below” Canpotex’s expectations, Seitz said, but he added that ultimately the price is set by rivals who agree to terms first with Chinese purchasers Sinofert Holdings Ltd and CNAMPGC.

Contracts with China by global suppliers Canpotex, Belaruskali and Uralkali usually set a global price floor.

Canpotex, whose owners account for about one-third of global potash sales, is not prepared to cede market share to rivals starting new mines, Seitz said.

German’s K+S AG will open a Saskatchewan mine this year, while EuroChem is building two Russian mines. Turkmenistan opened a potash plant last month.

Canpotex companies Potash and Mosaic meanwhile have made production cuts even as they expand their biggest mines.

“We believe we can maintain our market share and not have to sacrifice a bunch of price,” Seitz said, noting that some competitors have higher costs.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by James Dalgleish)




About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on April 11, 2017, in economic impact, political, potash. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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