Potash Corp wants to buy ICL despite obstacles
But key importers China and India bruised the earnings of potash producers in the second half of 2012 by staying out of the market altogether.
There also may be stiff competition coming from new potash mines under construction in Western Canada by Germany's K+S AG and BHP Billiton Plc, although BHP has not yet given final approval to its project. To head off new competitors, analysts have mused about the possible merits of Canpotex switching to a volume emphasis.
Potash Corp spokesman Bill Johnson said Brownlee's comments do not suggest a change in strategy as the company will continue to match supply to demand. But he said the company has noted that volume growth has been flat for five or six years and wants to change that trend, with the company expanding its mines and demand rising.
Mosaic Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko, speaking at the same conference, said demand from India has been picking up lately, and Canpotex could sell more than the 1.1 million tonnes of potash in 2013 that its latest supply contract with India calls for.