Potash Corp. Says Market ‘Paralyzed’ by Russia’s Move

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., North America’s largest fertilizer producer, said global markets for its namesake crop nutrient are “paralyzed” in the wake of OAO Uralkali (URKA)’s withdrawal from a joint venture with Belarus.

“We’ve seen very little volume movement” in the past month, Potash Chief Financial Officer Wayne Brownlee said today at an investor conference in New York. “In the offshore market, volumes have been essentially paralyzed.”

Uralkali, the largest potash producer, pulled out of a marketing joint venture with Belaruskali in July after accusing the company of selling the crop nutrient outside of the trading partnership. At the time, Berezniki, Russia-based Uralkali said it scrapped its strategy of emphasizing price over sales volumes and instead would increase output to win more market share.

“The customer base, as you would expect, when they don’t know what is going to happen, their first reaction is, ‘I don’t want to write down inventory, so I’m not going to buy,’” Brownlee said. “They don’t want to add that risk.”

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