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World fertilizer prices drop dramatically after soaring to all-time highs
Date:12/16/2008

prices were also driven up by a huge increase in demand and prices for sulfur, vital for production of the popular DAP and other high-analysis phosphate fertilizers. The supply of quality phosphate rock also became tight.

Why Prices Then Plunged Rapidly

Gregory explains why fertilizer prices fell so rapidly in late 2008. "The high fertilizer prices caused 'demand destruction.' Farmers were unable or unwilling to pay two or three times the prices of early 2007." Collapse of the global credit market, a trade recession, and slowdown in world economic growth worsened the situation. Demand for fertilizers fell and stocks accumulated. Fertilizer manufacturers cut back on production.

"But potash prices have stayed high due to its shortage and difficulties in transporting Russian potash because of an enormous and expanding sinkhole near the Silvinit mines," Gregory says. "Demand for potash increased from 2006 through 2008, and potash inventories are now 37% lower than over the past 5 years."

Price movements will probably be volatile for at least the next 2 years, until new production facilities open and the current lower prices for nitrogen and phosphate recover, Gregory says.


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Contact: Dr. Thomas Hargrove
thargrove@ifdc.org
256-381-6600
IFDC
Source:Eurekalert  

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