Sep. 9, 2013, 2:37 PM
- Potash shares remain strong despite cautious comments from Credit Suisse, which thinks investors are overreacting to rumors that Russian investors will take a stake in Uralkali (URALL.PK).
- A return to normal for potash producers is "extraordinarily unlikely" even with a new Uralkali shareholder structure, the firm says; either way, the situation isn't likely to be resolved in the near term.
- CS has an Underperform rating on Potash (POT +4.1%), Intrepid Potash (IPI +8.7%) and Compass Minerals (CMP +1.2%).
- Others: MOS +4%, AGU +1.8%, SQM +8.9%.
- Earlier: Putin says he wants to resolve the potash dispute.
Sep. 9, 2013, 9:09 AM
- Potash stocks are up sharply pre-market, apparently on reports that Russian Pres. Putin says he wants to resolve the country's bitter potash dispute with Belarus.
- Putin's spokesman had said earlier that Russia needed to study all Belarus claims before coming to any conclusions; harsher statements from Russian PM Medvedev suggests a possible split between the Kremlin and Medvedev's government in their commitment to support Uralkali.
- Premarket: POT +3.1%, MOS +3.6%, IPI +3.5%.
Sep. 5, 2013, 11:55 AM
- Belarus' president signs a decree creating a new potash trading company following the collapse of the country's partnership with Russia's Uralkali, and will cancel export duties on potash until the end of the year to "ensure the stable operation" of the new company.
- The new trading company will keep the same name - Belarusian Potash - but will be fully state-run and market only the country's potash.
- Foreshadowing falling prices, sources say Belaruskali has offered India a new supply contract for H2 2013 at $360/metric ton cost and freight, down $67/metric ton from H1 contract prices.
- POT -0.1%, MOS -0.7%, AGU -0.8%, SQM +3.8%, IPI +0.7%.
Sep. 4, 2013, 10:14 AM
- The chairman of Russia's Uralkali says he's not ruling out future cooperation with Belaruskali toward a new potash deal despite authorities in Belarus having arrested Uralkali's CEO.
- Uralkali's main aim for now is to get the CEO released, the chairman says; the CEO is in custody and due to stand trial charged with abuse of power.
- POT +0.5%, MOS +1.7%, AGU -0.3%, SQM +1%, IPI -0.4%.
Aug. 30, 2013, 12:32 PM
- Russia continues to ratchet up the pressure on Belarus, banning pork imports from the country as it responds furiously to the arrest of Russian potash company Uralkali's (URALL.PK) CEO.
- Since Monday's arrest, Russia has announced a 25% cut in oil supplies to Belarus next month, threatened to extend the cuts for several months and hinted at possible restrictions on imports of Belarussian dairy products.
- In a sign the breakup of the Russia-Belarus potash venture is causing problems for Belarus, state potash producer Belaruskali has suspended two of its four potash mine complexes for maintenance.
- POT +1%, MOS +1%, AGU -0.1%, SQM +4%, IPI +0.9%.
Aug. 28, 2013, 2:59 PM
- Tensions between Russia and Belarus continue to escalate after the arrest of Uralkali's (URALL.PK) CEO, as Russia reportedly orders its oil companies to cut supplies to Belarus by 25%.
- BMO says Belarus likely will be pressured into releasing the CEO but not likely that the cartel-like potash arrangement can be re-formed given the “breakdown in trust"; the issue going forward is whether Uralkali’s stance on potash volumes is maintained or revised.
- POT -0.7%, MOS +0.9%, AGU -1%, IPI -0.1%, SQM -1.1%.
Aug. 27, 2013, 10:34 AM
- Potash companies slide as yesterday's arrest in Belarus of the head of Russian potash company Uralkali (URALL.PK) threatens to turn into a major diplomatic row.
- The recriminations, and a threat by Belarus to hold CEO Vladislav Baumgertner for at least two months, suggest there is little hope of an early reconciliation in the potash dispute that has already lowered prices.
- The break-up of Belarusian Potash could have serious consequences for Belarus, where potash made up more than 7% of exports last year.
- POT -1.1%, MOS -1.8%, AGU -0.4%, IPI -1.6%, SQM -0.8%.
Aug. 26, 2013, 3:15 PM
- The potash spat continues to get uglier, as Belarus investigators reportedly intend to seize property and assets of Russia's Uralkali (URALL.PK) following the collapse of the joint Russian-Belarussian potash venture.
- Investigators say Uralkali had inflicted $100M in damages to Belarussian interests.
- Belarus earlier today detained Uralkali chief Vladislav Baumgertner, drawing a fierce rebuke from Moscow.
- POT +2.9%, MOS +1.7%, AGU +3.6%, IPI +2.5%, RNF +4.6%.
Aug. 26, 2013, 8:56 AM
- The head of Russian potash producer Uralkali (URALL.PK) has been detained in Belarus on suspicion of abusing his position and official powers.
- Belarus is a staunch Russian ally, but Uralkali's surprise decision to quit the potash trading venture with BPC in July strained relations between the two countries; a cheaper potash price could hit the value of Belarus' currency.
- Separately, Uralkali reportedly is in talks to buy distributors on key markets to maximize sales, part of its new low-cost strategy.
- POT +4%, MOS +3.1%, AGU +1.6%, IPI +3.7% premarket.
Aug. 21, 2013, 11:27 AM
- HSBC downgrades potash producers Potash (POT -1.1%), Mosaic (MOS -1.8%) and Agrium (AGU -0.4%), foreseeing weak potash prices following the break-up of one of the major cartels.
- Spot prices of the fertilizer will plunge to $25/ton from $50 currently while contract prices will be set at $300/ton, HSBC predicts; prior to the breakup, contract prices were expected to reach in the upper $400s in H2.
- POT is cut to Underweight from Overweight with a $22.50 price target, MOS is lowered to Underweight from Neutral with a $33 target, and AGU is reduced to Neutral from Overweight with a $95 target.
Aug. 20, 2013, 2:35 PM
- BHP's (BHP -1.4%) decision to continue to invest in its massive Jansen potash development in Saskatchewan "add[s] salt to the wound" of potash supply, Scotiabank says, pointing out Jansen could add the equivalent of 18%-20% of the potash market over recent years.
- Jansen’s extra product might come online well after potash prices have already decreased materially, BMO Capital says, but "still, there is only so much incremental potash demand to chase incremental supply."
- POT +0.3%, MOS +0.1%, AGU +0.9%, IPI +1.4%.
Aug. 19, 2013, 3:33 PM
- The head of potash miner Belaruskali chastises Uralkali's (URALL.PK) decision to abandon its partnership through the Belarusian Potash Corp. last month, says there are no plans to return to its relationship with Uralkali under current management and will cut its own deals with buyers from now on.
- North American potash giants have been trying to reassure investors that Belaruskali and Uralkali would soon make up and restore the cartel system; today's comments would seem to contradict that narrative.
- POT -0.9%, MOS -1.4%, AGU -0.1%, IPI -1.4%, SQM -1.4%.
Aug. 16, 2013, 3:12 PM
- Indian potash buyers, the second biggest source of potash demand after China, are demanding deep discounts as Russian miner Uralkali, which shook up the sector's cartel system last month, hikes production to full capacity and threatens to send prices plunging.
- The moves will further pressure shares of global potash miners, who have already lost up to 20% of their stock market value since the breakup of the cartel.
- Today: POT -2.8%, MOS -3.1%, AGU -1.2%, SQM -1.9%, IPI -5.5%.
Aug. 9, 2013, 9:44 AM
- Potash (POT +1.5%), Mosaic (MOS +2.4%) and Intrepid Potash (IPI +1.4%) shares move higher at the open following upgrades by BGC Partners, which says there is "too much at stake" for the two parties involved in the Belarusian Potash venture to remain independent for a while longer.
- The firm raises each stock from Hold to Buy, setting a $37 price target on POT, a $50 target on MOS and a price target of $16 on IPI.
Aug. 8, 2013, 12:50 PM
- Agrium (AGU +3.5%) says it plans to complete the expansion of its Vanscoy potash mine in Saskatchewan despite the breakup of Belarusian Potash, which raised fears of a drop in prices (earnings call).
- Construction of the $1.7B project, which is ~40% complete, is expected to boost potash capacity by 60% to as much as 3.2M metric tons by the end of 2014.
- CEO Mike Wilson sees no changes at Canpotex, which it owns jointly with Potash (POT +3.2%) and Mosaic (MOS +5%) to sell Saskatchewan potash offshore, praising the cost structure and relationships with customers.
Aug. 8, 2013, 11:41 AM
- Potash (POT +3%) bonds teeter near junk status as traders bet the breakup of a cartel for the crop nutrient will lead to lower prices; POT's implied rating has dropped to BBB-, one level above junk, based on the cost to insure against losses in its bonds.
- "What is very helpful in a cartel-like environment is stability - when that unwinds, it can be very volatile and violent," a trader says; POT says its ability to raise cash in the debt market is "not in question."
- S&P cut its outlook on POT’s credit rating to negative from stable on Aug. 6, citing the threat of lower prices.
- Other implied ratings are BBB- for Agrium (AGU +3.6%) and A- for Mosaic (MOS +3.7%).
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