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Publication > Issue > Articles

What will 2017 have in store?

Summary

After a firm rebound in 2016/17, global fertilizer demand is set to moderate and slip back to average growth in 2017/18. On the upside, nutrients are more affordable than they were 12 months ago with fertilizer-to-grain price ratios currently close to a seven-year low. On the downside, global economic growth remains sluggish and political uncertainties abound. In agriculture, high stock levels are also expected to continue to weigh on cereal and oilseed prices.

Abstract

The past 12 months have presented the fertilizer industry with a blizzard of challenges and uncertainties, as the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) recently noted1: “In 2016 the fertilizer industry has been confronted by weak global nutrient demand, soft economic prospects, depressed crop prices, rising competition and volatile energy prices. Fertilizer prices dropped to their lowest levels during the past five years, severely straining producer earnings.” Keywords: 2017, Market outlook, Demand, Drivers, Trade, Supply, Sales, El Niño, Biofuels, Farm economics, Rabobank, FAO, World Bank, International Fertilizer Association, IFA, Cereals, Oilseeds, Wheat, Corn, Sugar, Soybeans, Crops, Crop prices, Fertilizer prices, Affordability, Ammonia, Urea, Potash, Phosphate, DAP, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Russia

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Sulphur: the fourth crop nutrient

Summary

Sulphur is becoming an increasingly important crop nutrient – thanks to lower sulphur emissions, the increasing prevalence of high-analysis fertilizers and rising cropping intensity. This is opening up opportunities for producers to capitalise on the value of sulphur by supplying sulphate and sulphur-enhanced fertilizers in ever larger volumes.

Abstract

Soil sulphur deficiency, a relative rarity 20 years ago, is becoming more common. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly, the deposition of sulphur dioxide emissions from the atmosphere used to guarantee that soils in many regions were automatically enriched and replenished with sulphur. This is no longer the case, however, as increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the introduction of low-sulphur fuel has sharply cut emissions. Secondly, improving crop yields are withdrawing ever larger amounts of sulphur from the field. Finally, farmers are continuing to switch to high-analysis products, containing little or no sulphur, at the expense of sulphur-rich, low-analysis products, a long-term consumption trend that has also put sulphur replenishment on a downward path. Keywords: Sulphur, Elemental sulphur, Sulphate fertilizers, Sulphur-enhanced fertilizers, Sulphur coated urea, SCU, Sulphur-enhanced MAP, Sulphur-bentonite, Ammonium sulphate, Sulphate of Potash, SOP, Sulphate of potash magnesia, SOPM, Single superphosphate, SSP, Ammonium phosphate sulphate, NP+S, NPS, MicroEssentials, Urea-ES, YaraBela, SingleTop, DoubleTop, Thio-Sul, Tessenderlo Kerley, CF, Tiger-Sul Products, HJ Baker, Mosaic, OCP, Shell, Thiogro, NIIK, Qafco, Uhde, The Sulphur Institute, TSI, CRU, Fertecon, Yara, Onion, Brassica, Rapeseed, Oilseed rape, Canola, Pasture, Sugarcane, Coffee, Cotton

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The state of the nitrogen market

Summary

Following a recent webinar by Integer Research, we discuss the key nitrogen market developments of the last 12 months with the firm's Laura Cross and Julia Belyaeva.

Abstract

Nitrogen industry oversupply has been a dominant theme in 2016. Yet recent energy market developments have had an equally profound influence on the nitrogen sector by dramatically altering global production costs. Laura Cross, nitrogen team leader at UK-based Integer Research, links these two drivers with urea prices in 2016: “Our short-term price forecast was that urea prices were likely to fall over the course of the year due to the prevailing oversupply and the low production costs of key marginal producers.” Keywords: Integer Research, Nitrogen, Market, Outlook, Supply, Cost curve, Exports, Marginal producers, Floor price, Energy prices, Natural gas, LNG, Coal, Anthracite,Feedstock, Urea, Ammonium nitrate, Calcium ammonium nitrate, China, Ukraine, Central Europe, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Qatar, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine

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Future fertilizer leaders

Summary

The International Fertilizer Association (IFA) held a successful Future Fertilizer Leaders event at its 2016 annual conference in Moscow. Industry leaders from Agrium, K+S and Uralchem reflected on their careers and offered valuable insights and candid advice to an audience of 130 young professionals. Executives from all three companies agreed that attracting talented young professionals is necessary to ensure the sector has the future leadership it will need to thrive in a rapidly-changing market.

Abstract

Recruiting talented young people into the fertilizer industry, developing their abilities, rewarding their efforts and ensuring they enjoy successful careers is in the best interests of individual businesses. It is also holds the key to the future success of the whole sector, at a time when it faces fresh challenges and increasing change. With this in mind, the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), with the full backing of its member companies, launched the Future Fertilizer Leaders initiative at its annual conference in Istanbul in 2015. Keywords: International Fertilizer Association, IFA, Leadership, Career development, Mentoring, Agrium, K+S, Uralchem

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Cutting conveyor maintenance costs

Summary

Hostile operating environments can severely corrode the metal rollers used in conveyor systems in fertilizer plants. Switching to polymer rollers instead extends the life of costly conveyor belts, as Prasad Dhond of Global Conveyor Systems explains.

Abstract

The conveyor belt is one of the most expensive parts of the conveyor systems used in fertilizer plants. The rollers (idlers) on which the belt travels affect maintenance and wear and therefore play a particularly critical role in ensuring long belt life. Fertilizer production exposes belt conveyors to heavy corrosion, chemicals and a wide range of temperatures. The resulting corrosion causes metal rollers to fail prematurely. Keywords: Fertilizer handling, Global Conveyor Systems, Conveyors, Belts, Rollers, Steel rollers, Polymer rollers, High performance polyethylene, HPPE, HDPE, PVC, Phosphate rock, Potash, Gypsum, Sulphur, Corrosion, Maintenance costs

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Russian producers gear up for growth

Summary

The Russian fertilizer market was buoyant in 2016, thanks to the continuing recovery of the national economy and growth in domestic agriculture. Our St Petersburg-based correspondent Eugene Gerden reports on the current health of the Russian fertilizer industry.

Abstract

Russia’s huge endowment in natural resources allows it to produce the whole range of N, P and K mineral fertilizers. The country’s fertilizer production should total 21 million tonnes in 2016, according to Russian ministry of agriculture statistics. The Russian fertilizer industry also continues to be highly export-oriented, with about 75% of 2016 production output being sold internationally. Keywords: Russia, Fertilizer industry, Producers, PhosAgro, EuroChem, Uralchem, Uralkali, Russian Association of Fertilizer Producers, RAFP, Production, Exports, Consumption, Investment, Ammonium nitrate, Potash, Urea, Ammonia, Transports costs, Cherepovets, Belorechensk, Usolskiy, VolgaKaliy, Solikamsk-2

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Demand returns to the potash market

Summary

World potash output is expected to rebound during 2017 and grow for the first time in three years. Potash market recovery is being driven by rising demand in six major consuming countries in Asia and the Americas. The lowest potash prices in nearly a decade, together with the need to replenish low stocks, are also helping push-up global potash deliveries.

Abstract

Demand for potash in North America, Brazil China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia is set to rise in 2017. The Mosaic Company and analysts CRU are forecasting a 2.5 million tonne (4%) rise in global potash shipments to 61-63 million tonnes in 2017. Keywords: Mosaic, PotashCorp, Intrepid Potash, ICL, Uralkali, CRU, Canpotex, USDA, K+S, Potash, NPK, Corn, El Niño, Market, Demand, Price, Supply, Outlook, Distribution, Inventories, Stocks, Production, Closures, Curtailments, New Brunswick, Rocanville, VolgaKaliy, Usolskiy, Legacy, India, China, North America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, Russia

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Premium products from quality rock

Summary

Buoyant Russian production has helped underpin global growth in phosphate rock supply, and countered production shortfalls in other countries. Russia's phosphate fertilizer producers are fortunate to benefit from low operating costs and access to high-quality phosphate rock. The EU, Latin America and India all offer major markets for the country's competitive and highly export-oriented phosphate fertilizer sector. We profile the phosphate industry in Russia and neighbouring countries and examine its influence on world supply and trade.

Abstract

Russia and the neighbouring countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) form one the world’s key producing regions for phosphate rock and finished phosphate fertilizers. The region’s increasingly sophisticated phosphate industry is dominated by three key players: PhosAgro, EuroChem and Acron. Keywords: Former Soviet Union, FSU, Russia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Europe, Latin America, China, US, Thailand, PhosAgro, EuroChem, Acron, North-Western Phosphorus Company, NWPC, Apatit, Production, Mines, Exports, Markets, Investment, Phosphate rock, Phosphates, Finished phosphates, Diammonium phosphate, Monoammonium phosphate, Triple superphosphate, TSP, DAP, MAP, NPK, NPS, NP+S, Oleniy Ruchey, Kovdorskiy, Zhanatas, Balakovo, Cherepovets, PhosAgro-Cherepovets, Belorechenskie Minudobrenia, EuroChem-BMU, Veliky Novgorod, Dorogobuzh

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