FRANKFURT, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Germany's K+S AG
expects that potash prices have bottomed out after months of
declines hurt miners of the crop nutrient, its chief executive
told a German newspaper.
"The price of $400 per tonne will likely prove to be the
floor," Handelsblatt daily cited Norbert Steiner as saying in an
interview published on Tuesday.
Prices fell last year due to drawn-out talks between K+S's
larger rivals in Canada and Russia and importers China and
India, which are among the world's biggest users and held off on
In December, Canadian sales agency Canpotex, which supplies
a third of the world's potash, agreed to a new supply contract
with China at $400 per tonne, a deep discount.
"That means the period of weak demand from China has ended.
India will likely sign new contracts soon," K+S's Steiner said.
He said potash miners were still getting prices of at least
$465 per tonne in smaller Asian markets, which get less of a
volume discount than China.
Even though K+S exports little to China and India and
derives more than half of its potash revenue from Europe, the
prices it can charge are affected by negotiations over bulk
procurement in these countries. Last year's price declines
forced K+S to cut its 2012 profit outlook in November.
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan last week
forecast a modest rebound in earnings for 2013, with key
importers in China and eventually India resuming potash
purchases, though it warned that its recovery would be more
gradual than expected.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Jane Baird)