March set to break record

Belarus significantly augments potash fertiliser sales from early 2014
By Vladimir Khromov

“I think we’ve managed to reverse the situation and restore our sales. However, currency inflow is not yet sufficient, despite production and sales progressing — especially in March,” Alexander Lukashenko noted, at a meeting devoted to the efficient functioning of Belarus’ potash industry. The President added that 2013 had been difficult due to the owners and managers of Uralkali taking ‘an indecent position’ which brought great losses for the Belarusian company and Uralkali, as well as crashing the international potash market.

Mr. Lukashenko stated that, from October-December 2013, export volumes of potash fertilisers rose by 13 percent (on the same period of 2012). He emphasised that an even greater increase was recorded between January and February 2014: 25 percent (in comparison to the same period of 2013). “We think March will be a record high in terms of production and sale,” he added.

Nevertheless, the President is concerned that the inflow of foreign currency is yet to be restored. Mr. Lukashenko demanded a report on measures to increase foreign exchange earnings and raise distribution efficiency, and asked whether an optimal sales strategy had been developed (taking into account current trends on the international potash market). He also asked how Belarus’ pricing policy is calculated and how positions on key markets are being consolidated — particularly in Brazil, India and China.

The meeting aimed to analyse the present situation on the potash industry and to elaborate measures to enhance efficiency. Mr. Lukashenko asserted, “We should remember that the potash industry is one of the country’s largest currency earners for the budget.” The President is keen to gain a wider understanding of the issues currently facing the Belarusian potash industry as a new company is being set up, with a new deposit to develop. He underlined that Belarus will not be establishing joint ventures in Moscow to sell potash fertilisers, despite reports in the media of such a move to ‘restore a joint sales company and establish a new Moscow-based firm’. He explained, “I’m happy to assert that this is a lie! I heard this news from the media and wish to stress that no such joint company will be established in Moscow.” He admitted that Belarus is ready for talks — primarily, with Russian colleagues. “We’re ready to restore co-operation — as in the past. However, if any company of the kind is ever set up, it will be located in Minsk. We’ll found no foreign ventures, having learnt from bitter experience.”
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