2 May 1997

Russian nitrate threatens UKs

IMPORTS of Russian ammonium nitrate are threatening the UK fertiliser market.

So says the Fertiliser Manufacturers Association, which has called on the EU to review its minimum import price system.

The current set-up, claims FMAs Barry Higgs, is not having the intended anti-dumping effect, leaving the UK in an "unsustainable position". "Excessively cheap imports put the UK industry at risk, while also displacing the established Russian trade."

The cheapest Russian product is available at up to a £30/t discount on domestic fertiliser, putting on-farm prices at just over £100/t in some cases.

Prices have fallen not only because of varying "interpretations" of the minimum import price rules, says ICIs Andy Yates, but also because of sterlings strength.

With the minimum import price set in ecus, recent currency movements have seen this fall by over £10/t, says Mr Yates.

Tim Relf