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Ballance reduces prices for farmers

31 May 2013 - EMBARGOED UNTIL 12 NOON

Ballance reduces prices for farmers

Leading farm nutrient supplier Ballance Agri-Nutrients is reducing prices on most major fertiliser products across the board, passing on purchasing savings to customers.

Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says prices on most of the co-operative’s core plant nutrients will be reduced by between $10 and $80 per tonne from June 4.

“During the past year we have kept prices very competitive when global prices were increasing. Now we have seen a steady pattern of price declines globally, so we are taking the lead to pass these better prices on to our shareholders and customers.

“While the colder weather is now on us, there will still be farmers trying to build up pasture cover to see them through the worst of winter.  Passing on savings will enable them to use nutrients both tactically and cost effectively.”

Mr Bilodeau says the global fertiliser market is experiencing sluggish demand which has seen prices for most of the major nutrients weaken globally.

“While volatility is always a factor, the immediate outlook is for these prices to remain more favourable for buyers than sellers.”

Factors influencing the market included a significant rise in production capacity as brownfield and greenfield projects for potash, urea and phosphate eventuate.

“These are coming on stream over the next three years. Morocco, for example, expects to produce eight million tonnes more phosphate, a 30% increase in their current production.”

New projects in China had given rise to speculation that the tariffs used to protect local farmers during the high buying season would no longer be needed, with new production more closely matching local demand.

“As in New Zealand, we have also seen climatic conditions influence demand. In the United States and Argentina, spring planting has been delayed because of wet, cold conditions, so farmers have held off their nitrogen applications and that too has seen demand fall.”

Mr Bilodeau said global phosphate prices remain below price levels of 12 months ago, with slow demand in key import markets. However, with Indian demand going forward at contract rates there was a market expectation that demand spikes may drive higher prices.

A full price list with new pricing will be available from www.ballance.co.nz on Tuesday June 4.

ENDS

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