* Inventories rise 165,000 tonnes in October
* Inventories are 129 pct above prior 5-year average
TORONTO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) said on Tuesday that North American potash inventories rose in October, adding that inventories at the manufacturer level continue to remain well above average.
Potash Corp, the world's largest producer of the crop nutrient, said North American producer inventories rose 165,000 tonnes in October, reversing a three-month long downward trend in inventory levels.
However analysts were anticipating delays in fall fertilizer application in North America this year, due to the late harvest.
Potash Corp said North American potash inventories are 129 percent above the prior 5-year average.
Potash inventories had risen steadily through the first-half of 2009, despite major production cuts, as farmers concerned about exorbitant pricing and hurt by the credit crunch had deferred fertilizer application.
Buyers of the nutrient were also staying out of the market in anticipation of big annual import contracts signed by India and China, which typically set the tone for spot market pricing. While the Indian contract has been finalized, the contract with Chinese buyers is yet to be signed. Potash Corp said in October, potash pricing remained about flat just below $500 a tonne. (Reporting by Euan Rocha, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)