P&KToday: Potash Producer Shutters Mine to Cut Costs

January 21, 2016 01:07 PM

P&K was lower on the week.

  • DAP $72.89 below year-ago pricing -- lower $2.59/st on the week to $499.45/st.
  • MAP $72.68 below year-ago -- lower $3.30/st this week to $520.55/st.
  • Potash $106.03 below year-ago -- lower $2.09/st this week to $380.67/st.
  • The average cash corn price figured in to P&K this week is $3.64 3/4.
  • The national average corn basis firmed 1/2 cent from last week to 2 1/2 cents above March futures. The national average cash corn price firmed 11 3/4 cents from last week to $3.71 3/4. Basis is softer than the three-year average, which is 5 cents above futures for this week.

PotashPotash prices continued to slide this week as PotashCorp shuttered its Picadilly Potash Mine in New Brunswick. The company said it may reopen the mine in the future, but the Saskatoon based potash producer is moving its focus on to low-cost production facilities. The closure comes on the heels of the shuttering of PotashCorp's Penobsquis mine, and the suspension of operations at three other Saskatchewan mines. The move will cost 430 workers their jobs and severance packages will account for more than half of the $50 million PotashCorp expects to save in 2016.

“This is a very difficult day for our employees and our company,” said PotashCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Jochen Tilk in a press release. “While these are important steps in running a sustainable business and positioning the company to best meet the needs of its many stakeholders over the long term, such decisions are never easy. We understand the significant impact to our people in New Brunswick and the surrounding communities, and are committed to helping those affected through this challenging time.”

PhosphateDramatic closures like this are a strong indication that the market is oversupplied and that producers are now taking drastic measures to maintain profitability. That bodes well, however, for our spring potash outlook, and even with the loss of the Picadilly Mine and others, supplies will be ample at spring and prices are likely to continue to drift lower near-term.

Phosphates are weaker this week on soft demand prospects globally. That could help phosphate prices correct lower to better reflect nitrogen pricing. According to wholesalers, phosphate prices may fall as much as another $50 per short ton by spring. As with all nutrients, we will wait out the current price pressure and look for signs of a price floor before booking for spring.

By the Pound --

DAP is priced at 52 cents/lbP2O5; MAP at 49 cents/lbP2O5; Potash is at 32 cents/lbK2O.

The following is an updated table of P&K pricing by the pound as reported to your Inputs Monitor for the week ended January 15, 2016.

P&K pricing by the pound -- 1/21/2016

DAP $P/lb

MAP $P/lb
Potash $K/lb
$0.60 1/4
$0.56 1/4
$0.40 1/2