Fertilizer Markets and Finance

On this blog I publish posts & news about what's new in the fertilizer industry and how it's markets are affected by geopolitical developments, environmental changes and monetary policies. I also focus on how farmers are affected by government decisions, and economic fundamentals of the market place. I am passionate about agriculture in Trinidad and write about problems farmers face in the agriculture industry especially in rural areas. Thanks for viewing.

Jonathan Mohan


Some of my highlighted work -
The destruction of Trinidad and Tobagos’ local banana market.
http://tinyurl.com/pne2lwv

The geopolitics and economic stratagem of Uralkali’s bombshell will change the global potash oligopoly.
http://tinyurl.com/l57nco8
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Posts tagged "france"

French oil giant Total SA (TOT: Quote,TTFNF.PK,TTA.L) on Thursday said it has received a firm acquisition offer for its nitrogen fertilizer unit GPN S.A. from Borealis, a provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers.

Total said it has granted Borealis the exclusive right to pursue the offer, which is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.

In light of the quality of the Borealis’ offer, Total has decided to present it, as well as Borealis’ offer to acquire Total’s 56.86% interest in Belgium’s Rosier S.A., to the employee representatives concerned, as part of the information and consultation procedures.

Borealis’ offer for GPN includes clear undertakings to continue operations, to assume all employment contracts and to maintain jobs.

Patrick Pouyanné, President of Total’s Refining & Chemicals, said, “Fertilizers are a non-core business for Total. In joining Borealis, GPN — which is well established in France and has benefited from a vast capital expenditure plan in recent years — would enjoy new growth opportunities, including in the global marketplace.”

GPN is France’s leading manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizers and nitrogen oxide reducers. It supplies about 25% of the French market, with revenue of 500 million euros. GPN has 725 employees in France.

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French farm-production costs rose 2.4 percent in July as growers and livestock breeders paid more for energy and fuel, feed and fertilizer, the Agriculture Ministry said.

An index of agricultural-input costs averaged 132.4 for the month, against 129.4 a year earlier, the ministry reported today on its website.

Energy and lubricant expenses, making up about 11 percent of the gauge, jumped 3.3 percent, according to the report. The cost of animal feed, with an index weighting of about 25 percent, climbed 2.7 percent.

“The price of animal feed continues to progress since February,” the ministry wrote. “Those for energy and lubricants again head up, after having declined during the second quarter.”

The index for fertilizer, accounting for 12 percent of farming costs, rose 2.9 percent and expenses for seeds and planting material advanced 3.5 percent, the report showed.

Production costs for commodity crops, a subgroup of farming expenses, gained 3.7 percent, while livestock and dairy producers’ costs rose 2.5 percent, the ministry said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter atccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

Is #Euro2012 taking away from the #Euro #economic crisis? The PIGS are still in turmoil!

Au Revoir Sarkozy: Hollande wins French presidency. Francois Hollande has ousted Nicolas Sarkozy from the French presidency - to become the country’s first Socialist president in 17 years. It was a close call - winning 51 per cent of votes to his rival’s 49. Our correspondent Tesa Arcilla has been witnessing the wild celebrations at Socialist Party headquarters in Paris.

French nitrogen-fertilizer shipments fell 17 percent from July through February to the lowest level in at least four years, industry association Unifa said.

Nitrogen sales in France declined to 1.33 million metric tons in the first eight months of the year that started July 1 from 1.61 million tons a year earlier, Paris-based Unifa wrote in an e-mailed statement today.

France is the largest crop grower in the European Union, and the bloc’s biggest user of crop nutrients, according to the International Fertilizer Industry Association. Nitrogen is applied to plants to boost yields.

Potassium-fertilizer shipments in France fell 16 percent to 391,000 tons in May through February, while phosphate deliveries declined 20 percent to 328,000 tons, Unifa said.

The association tracks nitrogen sales on the basis of a year that starts July 1, while the marketing year for potassium and phosphorus begins May 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter atccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

Paris crop prices rose on Tuesday, as analysts warned that a spell of rain had yet to cancel out western Europe’s moisture deficit, and investors got their first chance to react to data showing sizeable French losses to winterkill.

Wheat for May edged 0.5% higher to E212.25 a tonne in lunchtime deals, while rapeseed for may gained 0.9% to E508.00 a tonne, the highest for a spot contract since January last year.

The increases came despite the Easter weekend bringing what weather service WxRisk.com termed “widespread shower activity” into parts of France, Germany and the UK, countries where a dearth of rainfall has put crops in many areas at risk.

Read more at Agrimoney

Animal welfare: EU legislation is not the solution. • European Parliament, Brussels, 28 January 2012


• Speaker: Stuart Agnew MEP, UKIP (Eastern Counties), Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) Group

• Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) - BRUSSELS - 6Q2 - Tue 28 February 2012 - 15:00 - 17:30

• Item on Agenda: 5.0 (AGRI/7/08668) The European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015


• Full Agenda and Session (video): 
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20120228-1500…

France has asked the European regulators to suspend the authorization to plant Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) MON810 corn. France’s ecology minister says the decision is based on studies showing GM crops “pose significant risks for the environment.”

Agence France-Presse reports:

The request is “based on the latest scientific studies” which show that the use of the GM crops “pose significant risks for the environment,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry pointed to a recent study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that raised concerns with another form of GM crop, BT11, that it said could also be applied to MON 810.

"If the European Union does not act, we can invoke the safeguard clause" which allows EU nations to independently restrict or prohibit the sales of products, it said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy in November pledged to seek new legal measures after the European Court of Justice and France’s top administrative court overturned a French ban on GM crops from US agriculture giant Monsanto.

France tv info writes that six countries in the EU also ban the cultivation of genetically modified corn: Germany, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, Austria et Bulgaria.

(SIPA/Durand Florence)

France’s ecology ministry said Monday it had asked European regulators to suspend authorisation for the use of genetically modified MON 810 maize crops from US company Monsanto based on new studies.

The request is “based on the latest scientific studies” which show that the use of the GM crops “pose significant risks for the environment,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry pointed to a recent study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that raised concerns with another form of GM crop, BT11, that it said could also be applied to MON 810.

"If the European Union does not act, we can invoke the safeguard clause" which allows EU nations to independently restrict or prohibit the sales of products, it said.

President  in November pledged to seek new legal measures after the European Court of Justice and France’s top administrative court overturned a French ban on  from US agriculture giant Monsanto.

France’s agriculture ministry imposed a ban in February 2008 amid concerns over public safety, but the French State Council said the government had failed to prove that Monsanto crops “present a particularly elevated level of risk to either human health or the environment”.

Monsanto markets MON 810 maize — which has been modified at a  to include DNA from a bacteria — under the trade name YieldGuard as being resistant to  that can threaten harvests.

But some governments believe it could pose a danger to .

#Iran halted crude sales to French and British buyers to pre-empt a #European Union ban on imports of its oil, just as OPEC’s second-biggest producer negotiates supply contracts with China. Lara Setrakian reports from Dubai on Bloomberg Television’s "First Word" with Caroline Hyde. (Source: Bloomberg)

SINGAPORE: Brent crude futures rose on Monday to above $121 a barrel, the highest in eight months, as Iran cut supply to Britain and France, while a policy easing by China and hopes for a Greek bailout also supported prices. 

OPEC’s second largest producer Iran ordered a halt to its oil sales to Britain and France on Sunday, retaliating against tightening EU sanctions as its ties with the West remained strained over its controversial nuclear programme. 

Brent crude hit a session high of $121.15 per barrel, a level not seen since mid-June last year. It stood at $121.14 by 0054 GMT, up $1.56. 

U.S. crude for March delivery rose $1.73 to $104.97 a barrel, after earlier rising to $105.21 a barrel, the highest since May last year. 

Investors’ appetite for riskier assets rose after China’s central bank on Saturday cut required reserve ratio of banks, boosting lending capacity by more than $50 billion and supporting demand outlook for commodities from the world’s second largest economy. 

Read more at The Economic Times



Monsanto, the US biotech giant, says

it is appealing a decision by a French court that found it guilty of poisoning a farmer in a case activists hope will have repercussions beyond France.

The US-based biotechnology giant Monsanto suffered a setback this week when a judge in the French city of Lyon found the company guilty of chemically poisoning a farmer. It was the first ruling of its kind against a pesticide maker in France, and agriculture activists were hoping its impact would be global.

Grain grower Paul François, 47, said he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches, stammering and muscular aches after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer in 2004. The ailments rendered him unable to work for a year, and the court ordered an expert opinion of his losses to establish the amount of damages.

The prosecution accused Monsanto of not providing adequate warnings on the product label and of failing to pull Lasso from the French market until 2007, despite earlier bans in Canada, Britain and Belgium. The biotech firm argued that its herbicide was considered safe by France for 40 years, and that it was successfully used by corn farmers on millions of acres across the globe.

Read more at France 24

Wheat prices rose in Paris to their highest in nearly eight months, boosted by a weak euro and strong technical factors, besides continued fears for the impact of cold weather on crops in Europe and Ukraine.

Wheat prices rose on many exchanges, after the cold snap gave Ukraine and western Russia over the weekend temperatures termed by WxRisk.com as “remarkable  if not record setting”, while parts of France and Germany, the European Union’s top two grain producing countries, saw cold of -20 degrees Celsius.

The freeze kept “tension on the market as winter kill might occur in the regions where the snow cap is insufficient”, Paris-based consultancy Agritel said, while adding that the cold snap had weakened in the former Soviet Union.

Although it was still early to assess damage to autumn-seeded grains, “It seems that frost damaged rapeseed and barley crops in the regions close to the Black Sea”, Agritel added.

In the US, crop forecaster Gail Martell said that Ukraine temperatures would this week “struggle reach the single digits [degrees Fahrenheit] for highs,  dropping off to -5 to -12 degrees Fahrenheit at  night”.

She added: “Not much snow protection is available in the southern Ukraine where winter wheat is cultivated, just 1-3 inches.”

Red more at Agrimoney

france wheat

Diplomacy at gunpoint - #EU Parliament - MEP Nigel Farage speaks about Greece under control of EU and not the people.

• European Parliament, Brussels, 1 February 2012

• Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ (EFD) Group in the European Parliament

• Debate: Conclusions of the informal European Council meeting of 30 January 2012
European Council and Commission statements [2012/2506(RSP)]:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?lang=en&refer…

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks tumbled on Friday after news reports that Standard & Poor’s would downgrade credit ratings on several euro-zone countries.

Among the reports about downgrades, French daily Les Echos reported that S&P will cut the credit ratings of Italy, Spain and Portugal by two notches and downgrade France and Austria by one notch. S&P wouldn’t make any changes to ratings for Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg its adjustment of euro zone sovereign ratings, the newspaper said. The announcement is expected around 4 p.m.

S&P declined to comment.

"If Germany is downgraded, then that would be a game changer, but the countries that are being talked about were pretty much expected," said James Dailey, portfolio manager of TEAM Asset Strategy Fund in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The slide, led by banks, came despite solid data that showed U.S. consumer sentiment hit an eight-month high as Americans became more optimistic about job prospects. The S&P financial index (:.GSPF) fell 1.6 percent, making this sector the day’s biggest decliner.

The tug of war between Europe’s debt crisis and relatively solid U.S. economic indicators has stymied investors’ attempts to assess how much risk to take on in the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average (DJI:^DJI - News) was down 124.31 points, or 1.00 percent, at 12,346.71. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SNP:^GSPC - News) was down 13.95 points, or 1.08 percent, at 1,281.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index (Nasdaq:^IXIC - News) was down 26.52 points, or 0.97 percent, at 2,698.18.

For the week, the S&P was on track to end moderately higher, up 0.3 percent. The Dow was on track to finish the week flat while the Nasdaq was set to close the week with a gain of 1 percent.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM - News) slid 3.6 percent to $35.53 after the bank said fourth-quarter profit fell as the European debt crisis weighed on trading and corporate deal-making.

JPMorgan’s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon expressed renewed concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis.

"We’re very very cautious," Dimon said in a conference call with reporters. "I would put myself in the ‘increasing worried’ category."

The KBW index of bank stocks (Philadelphia:^BKX - News) was down 1.2 percent, following a streak of gains. As of Thursday’s close, the index was up almost 10 percent for the year.

JPMorgan’s results “could be enough to make people take a bit of profits off that strong move,” said Brian Lazorishak, senior quantitative analyst and portfolio manager at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC - News) shares fell 2.8 percent to $6.60. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS - News) lost 2.6 percent to $98.62.

(Reporting By Angela Moon; Additional reporting by Jed Horowitz; Editing by Kenneth Barry)