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Israel Chemicals Slides as Mosaic Reduces Potash Forecast

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Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Israel Chemicals Ltd., a company that extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizers and potash, fell the most this month after competitor Mosaic Co. cut its quarterly forecast for potash sales and prices.

Shares of the Tel Aviv-based company dropped 1.5 percent, the most since Aug. 29, to 29.35 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv. The shares had risen as much as 21 percent since reaching an almost five-year low on Sept. 8. Israel Chemicals led declines on the benchmark TA-25 Index, which gained 0.8 percent.

Mosaic, North America’s second-largest fertilizer producer, said potash sales volumes in the third quarter will be as low as 1.45 million metric tons, down from a July forecast of at least 1.8 million. The company also trimmed the top end of the price range to $340 per ton from the original forecast of $360 a ton. Potash prices will remain low and a reconciliation of OAO Uralkali, the world’s biggest potash producer, with Belaruskali isn’t expected in the medium-term, Morgan Stanley wrote in a report today.

“Based on Mosaic’s forecast we expect a weak set of numbers for ICL,” said Guil Bashan, an analyst at I.B.I.-Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv. “Investors are now taking profits also as bets are abating that the cartel will be restored.”

Israel Chemicals last week jumped 12 percent on bets Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Kogan’s bid for Uralkali will stabilize the potash market. Global fertilizer markets have softened, in part, because of product distributors’ cautiousness related to the breakup of Belarusian Potash Co., Mosaic said yesterday.

Israel Corp., which holds a 52.3 percent stake in the potash harvester according to data compiled by Bloomberg, retreated 0.1 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Wrobel in Tel Aviv at swrobel4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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