Oct 16, 2014

Imports Account for 75% of Fertilizer Sales in Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

As the agricultural production increases in Brazil, so too does the demand for fertilizers, but domestic fertilizer production declined in 2014 while the volume of imported fertilizers increased. According to the National Fertilizer Distributors Association (Anda), from January through September there were 23.7 million tons of fertilizers sold in Brazil. This represented an increase of 7.3% compared to the same period in 2013. During the month of September sales totaled 3.9 million tons or 9.4% more than September of 2013.

To satisfy the demand, the amount of imported fertilizers increased 10.8% during the first nine months of the year to 17.9 million tons and imported fertilizers have accounted for 75% of fertilizer sales thus far in 2014. The main entry point into Brazil for imported fertilizers is the Port of Paranagua, which was responsible for 38% of the fertilizers imported thus far in 2014. The port handled 6.8 million tons of fertilizers during the first nine months of the year or 2.9% more than during the same period last year.

While imports are up, domestic fertilizer production declined 7.4% during the first nine months of the year to 6.5 million tons.

The Brazilian government embarked on a program several years ago to become self-sufficient in fertilizer production by the year 2020. The goal of self-sufficiency was to be achieved by opening new mines and building new nitrogen production facilities. The original goal was already optimistic given the rapidly expanding agricultural production in Brazil and that goal now seems further away than ever with the decrease in domestic production in 2014. As a result, the important agricultural sector is now even more dependent on the volatile international fertilizer market.

During the first nine months of the year, the sale of nitrogen fertilizers increased 6.2% due to the increased demand from safrinha corn, cotton, coffee, and wheat. Phosphate fertilizer sales increased 3% due to increased soybean acreage and potassium fertilizer sales were up 9% due to the demand from safrinha corn, cotton, wheat, and soybeans.

The four principal sates for fertilizer sales in Brazil are Mato Grosso with 4.7 million tons sold thus far this year, Parana with 3.1 million tons, Rio Grande do Sul with 2.9 million tons, and Sao Paulo with 2.7 million tons.