Nutrien plans major potash production hike as war in Ukraine exerts relentless pressure on global supplies – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – June 9, 2022)

Nutrien Ltd. is planning a major ramp up in potash production, as the war in Ukraine exerts relentless pressure on global supplies of the key fertilizer.

The world’s biggest fertilizer producer, based in Saskatoon, said on Thursday that it intends to boost its annual potash production to 18 million tonnes by 2025 – about 21.5 per cent higher than current levels. This year, Nutrien expects to produce about 14.8 million tonnes, a figure that had already been revised upward.

Before the war in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus accounted for roughly 40 per cent of global potash output. But exports fell about 20 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous year owing to sanctions imposed by the West on the two countries.

Meanwhile, the shorter-term production increases by Nutrien have not filled the void in world demand. “Nutrien is really the only major player with idle capacity on the planet,” Steve Hansen, analyst with Raymond James, said in an interview. “That three million tonnes [increase] is sorely needed.”

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