Belarus may earn more than usual on potash supplies in 2023

"Belaruskali / Euroradio
"Belaruskali / Euroradio

In 2023, Belarusian potash supplies will decrease by 25-40% from 2021 levels, Nutrien writes. But potash prices for 2022 have risen sharply. Despite the reduced supply, Belarus won't lose that much in 2023.

Experts estimate that Belarus could earn up to $4.4 billion from potash fertilizer exports in 2023. In 2020 the revenue from sales was $2.41 billion.

Why are we comparing with 2020? Belstat has hidden data on potash trade since the middle of 2021. However, using scraps of the remaining statistics and Nutrien's forecast, Euroradio joined an economist to find out what Belarus can expect and whether it will help the economy.

How much potash can be sold?

For 2021, complete data on potash exports were no longer available. The OEC, which collects data from public sources, estimates that Belarus will export $2.63 billion worth of potash in 2021. This figure is close to the truth, as Belarus exported $834.1 million worth of potash in January-April 2021, the latest official data confirms.

Беларусь может заработать на поставках калия в 2023 году больше, чем обычно
Potash exports in January-April 2021 / Belstat

To roughly calculate how much potash will be shipped in 2021, let's divide $2.63 billion by the latest data on the cost of potash fertilizers. It comes to about 13.15 million tons.

Беларусь может заработать на поставках калия в 2023 году больше, чем обычно
Potash price in January-March 2021 / Belstat

Thus, Nutrien predicts that supplies in 2023 will fall to about 7.9-9.9 million tons of potash. In 2020, 11.8 million tons will be exported.

Up to $5 billion could be made on potash, but it won't save them

Conditions for potash sellers have improved significantly in recent years, says BEROC researcher Aleg Mazol.

"In 2022, global potash prices averaged about $800 per ton, in 2023 the price has fallen slightly. In February 2023 it was about $645 per ton. By comparison, the Lukashenka regime sold potash to Brazil for $342 in 2020. The rising price of potash indicates a significant shortage of potash on the world market. Therefore, I think it is possible to increase the export of potash fertilizers, the main question is whether Belaruskali has enough production capacity for it." 

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