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Phosphate supply and demand in China: China looking outward?

June 18, 2012

Given the enormous potential demand for P fertilizer lurking in the Chinese agricultural sector, any signs of change in the P dynamics in China are worthy of attention.  Thus, the recent report “Remaking China’s Phosphate Industry” in BusinessInsider is notable (LINK).  The article notes the burgeoning demand for P fertilizer to meet demand and to avoid food price inflation.  Phosphate ore prices are increasingly pretty steeply right now in China, according to the report, and various Chinese enterprises are beginning to look beyond China’s borders for opportunities to acquire P mines and fertilizer production capacity.  For me, it was interesting to note from the article that China’s Ministry of Commerce listed phosphate as the nation’s third most important national strategic resource.   Last year I promoted the idea of categorizing P as a strategic material in a workshop at the Woodrow Wilson Center.  Looks like China is more than a few steps ahead of the USA in recognizing the central role of P in food, and national, security.

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