Overall, the FAO looks at world phosphate demand having increased from 40.6 million tonnes in 2011 to 45 million tonnes in 2016. For P2O5, specifically, demand was expected at 3.5 million tonnes between 2012 and 2016, 58 percent of which would be in Asia and 24 percent in the United States. The FAO noted that the majority of demand from Asia is expected to originate from India, followed by China and Pakistan.
Looking ahead, the FAO points to Africa as a demand driver for phosphate, noting that in 2011 Africa accounted for 2.9 percent of global fertilizer consumption. The organization further elaborates on its expectations, writing that from 2012 to 2016, it anticipates the growth rate for phosphate demand to be 2.9 percent. The FAO also expects Africa to maintain its status as major exporter of phosphate.
Investment shows confidence in phosphate sector
Nothing boosts confidence an an industry more than investment by a large company. And if ICL’s (TLV:ICL) recent activity in Africa is any indication, the region could play a big role in the future of fertilizers.
In June 2015, ICL completed its acquisition of potash development favorite Allana Potash. Fast forward to December, and the company has inked a memorandum of understanding with LLNP Ltd, a Namibian subsidiary of the Leviev Group. According to the company’s press release, LLNP was hired to perform a “feasibility study to establish a world-scale phosphates and downstream production business in Namibia, including fertilizer-grade phosphoric acid, white phosphoric acid, bulk fertilizers (e.g. MAP and DAP) and specialty fertilizers.”
“The cost of extracting the phosphate is anticipated to be very competitive compared to competitors, which, in turn, is expected to enable downstream production to deliver best cost of goods,” ICL said in a statement.
Meanwhile, several other companies were able to secure much needed funding, which is particularly of note given the tough market conditions.