14 September 2001
Fertiliser ‘scam’ after terror attacks

By Tom Allen-Stevens

THE FERTILISER industry has reacted with surprise at efforts by some suppliers to use this weeks tragic events to drum up business.

Oil prices initially surged as speculation mounted over what action the USA would take after the terrorist attack on America, but they have since eased.

The fertiliser market, however, has not reacted at all.

Market reports reveal availability is good, prices static.

“When there is a serious international incident, everyone starts to get worried,” says Usborne Fertilisers Neil Taylor.

With things as they stand, there is no reason for growers to worry, he said, “but were keeping a cautious eye on the forward market.

“Fertiliser is currency- and oil-related. Oil prices and currency have settled since the start of the week.”

He was surprised, however, when customers phoned him earlier this week saying other suppliers had told them they ought to secure their orders.

“Thats just scare-mongering. The market is quiet, so theyre using this weeks events to stimulate business.”

The Fertiliser Manufacturers Association also reports no change and one industry source called it “an appalling scam”.

Online trading venture Globalfarmers sent e-mailed customers on Wednesday (12 September) saying “some suppliers have stopped quoting prices for fertiliser and have temporarily withdrawn from the market.”

The companys Murray Mackay told FWi, “Importers of ammonia and urea are concerned and will not commit to forward buying.”

But thats nothing new and has much more to do with the state of the market, says FWis fertiliser correspondent Roger Chesher.

“After last year a lot of importers lost money taking a punt on the market – some have still got some stock they have not managed to sell.

“Theyre a lot more cautious this year, compounded by the fact that UK manufacturers have not issued a price list.”

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