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2012 Fertilizer demand dropping?

Author : Miss Jane Date : 2/24/2012 1:40:36 AM
Potash fertilizer demand will be down slightly this year versus 2011, Mosaic Co. (MOS) officials said Wednesday.

The forecast represents a change from its previous outlook, which had continued to forecast record potash demand in 2012 even as the company announced it was curtailing production earlier this month. Mosaic Chief Financial Officer Larry Stranghoener told investors at an analyst day Wednesday that potash demand would in fact be "slightly" lower.

Still, the Minnesota-based fertilizer company, which had announced it would curtail potash production by 20% from February through May, sees no need to extend those cuts, executives said. Rival Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) has also cut production in the face of weaker prices and sluggish demand.

Mosaic, which is also the world's largest phosphate fertilizer producer, sees more upside to phosphate fertilizer prices in the near term, Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko said. The potash market, by contrast, doesn't have its "legs" under it yet, he said.

He said buying by China, which has delayed its potash purchases recently, will eventually change the market's dynamics.