Potash prices are recovering after a decade of weakness, lifting the prospects of a turnaround in fortunes for fertilizer companies following a slump in farm spending.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s second-biggest producer, boosted its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday and said strong demand will continue for the rest of the year as North American farmers seek to replenish soil nutrients after record harvests. Chinese potash shipments are expected to increased in 2017, it added.
The Canadian company’s performance suggests the potash recovery is in “full force,” Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Jonas Oxgaard said in a note. Canpotex — the joint venture handling overseas sales for Potash Corp. and its two largest North American peers, Agrium Inc. and Mosaic Co. — has kept the market tight and driven up prices, while volumes have exceeded expectations in North America and export markets, a positive sign for the companies, he said.
“I think we’ve seen the turnaround already,” Oxgaard said by phone. “We expect continued price increases in potash.”
Potash Corp. maintained its forecast for worldwide industry potash shipments of as much as 64 million metric tons this year, up from 60 million in 2016. It raised its prediction for Latin American shipments. China, the largest market, is now seen consuming as much as 15.5 million tons.
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