September 5, 2019 / 11:32 AM / 15 days ago

UPDATE 1-Belarus to cut potash output, plans supply talks with India

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MINSK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Belarus, one of the world’s largest potash exporters, may reduce production of the crop nutrient by almost a third within the next 3-4 months amid weaker global demand, Ivan Golovaty, chief executive at state-owned miner Belaruskali, said.

Global demand of potash is down this year due to large stockpiles, and some analysts expect prices for the commodity to decline, Golovaty told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Minsk on Thursday.

Belaruskali plans to modernise its production and focus on maintenance during this period of unfavourable market conditions, the chief executive added. It produced 12.1 million tonnes of potash in 2018.

While Belaruskali prepares for maintenance, its trading arm and one of the key sources of the country’s dollar revenue - the Belarus Potash Company (BPC) - plans to begin talks on a new supply contract with India this month, BPC chief executive Elena Kudryavets said, on the sidelines of the same conference.

Kudryavets declined to comment on the price of the future contract, but said she hoped the talks would yield results soon. A year ago, the contract with India was set at $290 per tonne.

BPC, which accounts for 20 percent of the global potash market, has been the first supplier to sign annual contracts with India and China, the world’s largest consumer of potash, in recent years, setting a global price benchmark.

China has not yet initiated talks on the new potential contract, Kudryavets added. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; writing by Maria Kiselyova and Polina Devitt; Editing by Deepa Babington and Mark Potter)

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