Key Element highlights. January Potash market highlights. Overview of Uralkali s agronomy programmes. Uralkali Market Analysis Report

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1 2013 highlights Potash market highlights Uralkali Market Analysis Report Overview of Uralkali s agronomy programmes Key Element January 2014

2 Comment from our Head of Sales and Marketing Dear friends, 2013 was a challenging year for the potash industry. A prolonged steady decline followed the demand highs of In 2012 and 2013, macroeconomic difficulties in a number of regions impacted the global fertiliser consumption. Capacity increases by key producers and the possibility of emergence of new players despite sluggish demand led to increased competition and lower prices. Still, we see that the potash industry fundamentals remain strong. Demand for agriculture products is constantly rising. World population growth, diet changes and decreasing arable land per capita increase the need for more efficient farming practices. Balanced plant nutrition can significantly improve yields. Accordingly, Uralkali assigns great importance to spreading agrarian expertise on proper fertiliser application. In view of the unfavourable market environment and Belarusian partnership issues, Uralkali revised its sales strategy in summer The Company moved from the strict price over volume approach to a more flexible one, prioritising price or volume depending on the market conditions in order to maximise profitability. In this edition of Key Element we present a review of the latest events organised through Uralkali s agronomic programmes in India, Bangladesh, Brazil and Russia. We would welcome your feedback, comments and questions and will try to address them in our next issues. Please contact us at Kind regards, Oleg Petrov, Uralkali Head of Sales and Marketing Page 02

3 Potash market highlights Potash market overview 2013 In 2013, volumes were the primary driver in the potash industry. Potash demand in 2013 is estimated to have approached million tonnes, up 5 7% compared to the previous year. However, the recovery was slower than expected, both volume and price-wise. A number of factors sparked cautiousness among buyers who took a wait-and-see approach and delayed purchases, including the lack of direction in the absence of supply contracts with China for the second half of 2013, the high inventories in key markets by Q3 2013, uncertainties in the third quarter due to the break-up of BPC, and the weaker rupee combined with political and economic instability in India. The combination of these factors against lower year-on-year prices for agriculture commodities resulted in a significant reduction in potash prices by the end of Potash sales volumes in the first half of 2013 were strong compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, showing growth of 9% on 2012 figures. Most suppliers made large deliveries to major import markets as they tried to improve their performance through aggressive pricing policy. As a result, potash prices fell in spite of solid demand. There was firm resistance from buyers in Brazil and Southeast Asia to suppliers attempts to raise prices due to oversupplied markets. In addition, potash prices have come under downward pressure due to substantial decreases in benchmark phosphate and urea prices, and decreases in crop prices. Although the potash market saw a 9% increase in sales volumes in H1 2013, Uralkali s deliveries were lower than in the previous year due to aggressive competition in the market. In H1 2013, the Company cut production substantially to avoid oversupplying key markets. For example, the Company did not make deliveries to Brazil, one of Uralkali s key markets, at the beginning of the year to prevent price erosion and as a result, the Company lost a substantial market share to other suppliers. Export market shares in 1H 2013 Export market shares in 1H 2012 SQM 4% POT/Canpotex 32% Belaruskali 17% SQM 3% POT/Canpotex 27% K+S-ICL-APC 30% Uralkali 17% Belaruskali 19% K+S-ICL-APC 29% Uralkali 22% Source: IFA Thus, in maintaining a price over volume strategy in H1 2013, the Company was progressively losing its market share in key markets to the benefit of other suppliers. Uralkali s export market share in H declined by approximately 5%. Page 03

4 Potash market highlights Potash market overview 2013 Uralkali has increased its market share in key markets since adopting its revenue maximisation strategy. The Company has sold approximately 1 million tonnes per month since August 2013, largely to the Brazilian and Asian markets. By the end of 2013, there were clear signs of stabilisation in many markets around the world. We are not seeing price erosion in key markets and prices have bottomed in the majority of markets, such as Brazil and Southeast Asia. A rebound in demand is expected, since the China contract price has been established, to support market recovery. Customer caution during H can lead to increased demand in 2014 as buyers rebuild depleted inventories and seek to take advantage of bottomed prices. Annual averages DAP Quarterly averages Jan-Dec Jan-Dec Jan-Dec Oct-Dec Oct-Dec Unit ($/t) Phosphate rock 2 ($/t) Potassium chloride 3 ($/t) Urea 4 ($/t) Standard size, spot FOB US Gulf 2 Phosphate rock (Morocco), contract f.a.s. Casablanca Source: World Bank Following the breakup of BPC, the potash market came to a temporary standstill as customers focused on reducing their inventories and awaited further clarity on price. Indian buyers deferred shipments of outstanding orders and pushed for lower prices for the remaining shipments. In the autumn, India renegotiated the contract price (US$ /t vs. previous US$427/t). Brazil remained the most active market in the second half of Suppliers reported lower potash revenues for Q compared to the corresponding period last year due to a weaker pricing environment and lower volumes shipped. Benchmark fertiliser prices 3 Standard grade, spot FOB Vancouver 4 Spot, FOB Black sea Potash prices 20 December December 2012 Potash - CFR Standard Bulk Southeast Asia Spot (US$/t) India contract ((US$/t) China contract (US$/t) Potash - CFR Granular Bulk Latin America CFR Spot (US$/t) Europe, CFR ( /t) Source: Argus FMB, Fertecon As a result, at the beginning of H2 2013, Uralkali reconsidered the sales strategy of the business. The Company announced a refocused approach to the market to optimising revenues through a more flexible approach including volume maximisation by taking advantage of its highly competitive production costs. Uralkali also decided to start operating independently and channel all sales through its own trader: Uralkali Trading SA. 1 The contract was concluded in the winter of 2013 and adjusted in the autumn of The contract was concluded in the summer of 2011, shipments were partially delayed into The contract was concluded for H The contract was concluded for H potash volumes may increase to million tonnes, up from million tonnes in Page 04

5 Potash market highlights Soybeans Wheat Dec-13 Oct-13 Aug-13 Jul-13 Mar-13 Jan-13 Nov-12 Sep-12 Jul-12 May-12 Mar-12 Jan Palm Oil (RHS) Global Potash inventory Million metric tonnes 1.7 N.America 1.9 SEA - end of Brazil 1.0 MYR/t Source: Uralkali s estimators Corn Nov-11 Sep-11 Jul-11 May-11 Mar-11 US$/bu Agriculture Futures Prices Jan Source: Bloomberg Potash market overview India 4.9 China EMEA Notes: 1 Inventory does not include domestic potash producers stocks, excl. China 2 Including domestic producers stocks, port stocks, pile channels stock, NPK warehouse stocks - end of December 2013E Page 05

6 Agropage: Uralkali s agronomic programmes Uralkali s agronomic programmes For many countries, ensuring sufficient food supply for the fast growing population with food is the most important task of the state. In India, Southeast Asia and China the agricultural sector provides food security, employment and also contributes significantly to the country s GDP. Uralkali considers it of utmost importance not only to secure sufficient potash supplies to our customers but also to promote agronomy knowledge that will help them to increase agriculture efficiency and profitability. Our agronomy projects usually involve several elements new experimental plots, participation in specialised conferences and exhibitions, as well as publication of brochures and booklets about the properties of the product. Customer education is a powerful part of product promotion and also has an educational value in foreign markets where the educational level of local farmers can sometimes below due to different reasons. In our workshops Uralkali experts talk not only about the benefits of potassium and fertiliser application best practices, they also give insight on the global potash market and offer farmers practical recommendations on agriculture and financial planning. In foreign markets, we seek to involve local experts with knowledge of the language, culture and traditions. We successfully combine this principle with world-leading agronomic expertise. This issue looks back at the latest most interesting projects. Our partners The International Fertiliser Industry Association (IFA) is a non-profit organisation representing the global fertiliser industry on issues related to improving interaction between its members and collecting data about the industry. The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) is a global organisation that exploresplant nutrition and disseminates research data. The International Potash Institute is a non-profit organisation that studies and promotes balanced plant fertilisation to increase the yield and nutrient value of agricultural products. The Russian Association of Fertiliser Producers (RAPU) wasestablished by Russia s largest mineral fertiliser manufacturers. The association coordinates the activities of its members whiledealing with key industry development issues. The Pryanishnikov Russian Scientific Research Institute of Agrochemistry, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, created to improve the scientific and methodological management of agrochemical service and to implement mathematical methods and computer technology in chemical use, has become a scientific and methodological centre of a network of stations within Russia s agrochemical service. Page 06

7 India India is the second largest country in the world in terms of agricultural production. The agricultural sector accounts for about 20% of India s GDP and 10% of export revenues. A sharp increase in grain production during the green revolution of 1970s allowed the country to become self-sufficient in grain production and prevent hunger. Intensification of agriculture in the 1970s 1980s helped boost salaries in the agricultural sector, pushed down food prices and slashed poverty levels in rural areas. However, a slowdown in agricultural growth at the beginning of a new millennium became the subject of lively debate within the country. India s rice yield is 3 times lower than China s and 2 times lower than Vietnam s or Indonesia s. Most of the other crops grown also suffer from low yields, except for sugarcane, potatoes and tea. This is why India s government has made increasing yield a key goal and this is not merely vital for a country with a growing population, it is also an attractive opportunity to increase exports. Agropage: Uralkali s agronomic programmes India Population Growth, 2013 est. 1.28% Share of agriculture in GDP, % Total potash consumption ( F) GDP Growth, 2012 est. Main crop 6.7% 6.50% Sugar cane Source: CIA The World Factbook, World Bank Uralkali holds regular events in India, in collaboration with the local Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and the International Potash Institute (IPI), that aim to help farmers become more agronomy-literate. On November the Fertiliser Association of India (FAI) with support from the International Potash Institute (IPI) held a seminar in Kolkata, entitled Sustaining Soil Health and Ensuring Food Security. The seminar s main focus was balanced fertiliser application, which plays a key role in maintaining soil fertility. Dr D.S.Yadav, Director of Marketing of the Fertiliser Association of India, argued that current policy will lead to serious nutrient management imbalances in crop cultivation, and challenged researchers to identify the optimum economics for balanced nutrition of different crops under the current nutrient base policy. This problem is becoming particularly pressing due to the rising prices of phosphate and potassium fertilisers. Dr Dipak Sarkar, Director of the National Bureau of Soil Science & Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP) in Nagpur, gave a detailed presentation on national soil quality. He noted that soil quality is deteriorating due to the lack of balanced nutrition, and emphasised the importance of integrated nutrient management in ensuring food security. Neeraj Awasthi, Uralkali s Senior Agronomy Expert for the region, talked about the role of potassium in balanced fertilisation, soil productivity and quality. His presentation focused on the fertiliser s impact on different crops qualitative parameters, and drew on research conducted during the implementation of a number of IPI projects. Page 07

8 Southeast Asia, Bangladesh Agropage: Uralkali s agronomic programmes Southeast Asia Population Growth, 2013 est. 0.99% Share of agriculture in GDP, % Total potash consumption ( F) GDP Growth, 2012 est. The Government of Bangladesh has made the development of agriculture a clear policy priority. Many farmers have only basic education, so, in addition to seminars, the Ministry of Agriculture supports programs under which agronomists set up experimental plots to demonstrate the benefits of balanced fertilisation. In November, the Bangladesh Fertiliser Association (IPI-BFA) held a seminar called Tutorial on the use of fertilisers to farmers and agricultural industry. Main crop 2.9% 6.2% Palm oil Source: CIA The World Factbook, World Bank The event took place in Jamalpur district, which specialises in the cultivation of agricultural products and is widely known for having the highest production levels of vegetables, especially cauliflower and tomato. In his welcome address Dr Faruq Ahmed Chowdhury, Director of IPI-BFA from Jamalpur, noted that the current government is deeply concerned about fertilisation practices and therefore recently ordered the many-fold increase in fertiliser subsidy and launched a raft of policies to improve agricultural productivity and ensure food security in Bangladesh. Dr Neeraj Awasthi, Coordinator at the International Potash Institute (IPI) and Uralkali s Senior Agronomy Expert for the region, gave a concise outline of IPI and its work in Bangladesh. Dr Awasthi noted that the training programme focuses on promoting balanced nutrition and potassium application, and that the association will continue to hold similar events to further disseminate knowledge generated by the IPI-BARI Project, which aims to achieve higher volumes and improved quality in Bangladesh s agricultural production. Scientific researchers present gave presentations that covered the effective cultivation technologies of most important crops. Dr Md Belal Hossain, Senior Scientific Officer at Sub Station at Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), discussed fertiliser management and gave recommendations for rice and jute in detail. Dr Zahurul Islam, regional director of Sub Station BARI in Jamalpur, spoke about fertiliser management with special reference to potassium, and provided recommendations for wheat, maize, tuber crops and oilseed. Page 08

9 Brazil Agropage: Uralkali s agronomic programmes Brazil In some regions of Brazil there is a perception that local tropical soils are already potassium-rich, so there is no need to apply it. Agronomists at the company and at the International Potash Institute (IPI) pay a great deal of attention to promoting the effects of balanced fertilisation. Population Growth, 2013 est. In October, IPI and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) hosted the Support the Balanced Use of Potassium in Brazilian Agriculture symposium in Piracicaba, SP. Main crop Share of agriculture in GDP, 2012 Total potash consumption ( F) GDP Growth, 2012 est. 1.2% 3% 5.2% 3.0% Soyabeans Source: CIA The World Factbook, World Bank The main issues discussed were the theory and practice of potash application in Brazil, and particularly to the perception mentioned above, that where soil is seen as potassium-rich, people question whether there is any objective need to apply it. The effect of this kind of potash holiday has been studied for several years, in particular looking at its impact on key agricultural crops. It is too early to draw conclusions, but initial results showed a decrease in yield on demo plots where potash was not applied. The event gathered over 170 participants, including 25 leading experts from several research centres and institutes in Brazil and abroad, including Agroconsult, APTA, CENA, Embrapa, ESALQ, Fund ABC, Fund MT, INTA, IPI, IPNI, MAPA, SNP, TecFertil, UAAAN, UEVORA, UFSM and UNESP. Speakers came from a number of countries, allowing participants to compare approaches to potassium use around the world. The speakers vast experience in a host of diverse areas ensured a wide-ranging and interesting discussion on these topics, at a level which has not been seen in Brazil for sometime. Page 09

10 Russia Ensuring food security is one of Russian government s stated strategic priorities. Increasing productivity requires the maintenance of soil fertility, as well as smart and balanced plant nutrition. Modern intensive agricultural production methods in the Russian market have seen a change in the dosage and ratio of mineral fertilisers applied, with a relative fall in the amount of phosphate and potash fertiliser used, and an increase in the nitrogen component. Given the loss of potash from the soil through harvesting, and the incomplete return of the element into the soil, the risk of the potash level in the soil decreasing rises as soil fertility falls, which becomes a problem for farmers in regions across the country. Agropage: Uralkali s agronomic programmes Russia Population Growth, 2013 est % Share of agriculture in GDP, % Total potash consumption ( F) 6.3% GDP Growth, 2012 est. 3.4% Main crop Wheat Source: CIA The World Factbook, World Bank. In 2012, Uralkali invited Russian and international experts in agricultural chemistry and soil science to run a pilot scientific and research project aimed at studying the effectiveness of balanced fertiliser application and improving the yield of specific key crops (sugar beet, corn, rape, soy). The initial results of this research will be discussed in the next issue of our newsletter ( Key element, April 2014). Uralkali specialists have also participated in conferences and seminars across the country. For example, in October Uralkali took part in the XV Russian Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2013 in Moscow. The exhibition was organised by Russia s Agriculture Ministry, the Moscow Government, the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and All-Russia Exhibition Centre. This year the exhibition brought together more than 2,500 companies and organisations from 24 countries around the world. The Russian Federation was represented by more than 50 regions and republics. The official opening ceremony was led by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who noted the need to develop Russia s agro-industrial complex, especially in the context of execution of a new state programme. Uralkali s stand offered visitors and exhibitors the opportunity to try vitamin watermelon cocktails, listen to seminars on the benefits of potash fertilisers and participate in a raffle, with prizes given out including souvenirs from Uralkali. A round table titled Actual problems of farming efficiency in the Russian Federation: the best foreign and domestic practices of application of mineral fertilisers in intensive farming systems organised by the Russian Agriculture Ministry, Uralkali and the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) was held on 11 October, as part of the exhibition s business programme. Reports about the problems of intensive crop production technologies were presented by Ivan Savchenko, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, Academician of Russian Agricultural Academy, Vladimir Romanenkov, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of D. Pryanishnikov Russian Institute of Agrochemistry. Several papers on the use of potash fertilisers were presented by the directors of research centres and stations under the Russian Agriculture Ministry s Agrochemical Service. They set out preliminary results from field research carried out in conjunction with Uralkali in four Russian regions (Belgorod, Voronezh, Lipetsk and Rostov). Page 10

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