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SQM Falls Most in 19 Years in Chile on Potash Outlook

Soc. Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, the country’s largest fertilizer producer, fell the most in 19 years after Russia’s OAO Uralkali said it would abandon a cartel that underpinned prices for a principal ingredient.

SQM’s B shares retreated 17 percent to 15,738 pesos at the close of trading in Santiago, the biggest fall since December 1994. Trading of SQM’s shares in Chile had been suspended between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. by the Santiago exchange.

Companies that make the soil nutrient potash tumbled globally after Uralkali, the world’s largest producer, said it would exit agreements that limited production. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Canada’s largest producer, fell 16 percent in Toronto, while Plymouth, Minnesota-based The Mosaic Co. retreated 17 percent.

“This may lead to a price war,” Banchile Inversiones wrote in a note posted on its website, saying potash could retreat to $300 per ton from about $392 per ton. “For every $10 per ton drop, SQM’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization could retreat 2.5 percent.”

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