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Shares in potash producers rise as the U.S. sanctions Belarusian exporter

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Shares of global potash producers rose on Thursday after the United States imposed sanctions against Belarus’ exporter, which accounts for 16% of global production, along with wide sanctions against other firms and officials of the country.

Belarus Potash Company (BPC) is the exporting arm of Belarusian state potash producer Belaruskali and is Minsk’s main foreign currency earner. BPC ships potash mainly to China, India and Brazil.

The U.S. Treasury said on Thursday that it issued a general license authorising wind down of transactions involving BPC until April 1.

Some customers of BPC will try to avoid new business with it after the United States imposed sanctions against it, analysts at VTB Capital said in a note.

BPC, whose supplies are currently handled by the Klaipeda port in Lithuania, did not immediately reply to a Reuters’ request for comment. Belaruskali was sanctioned in August, the deadline for wind-down of operations with it expires on Dec. 8.

With 12.5 million tonnes potash to be produced in 2021, Belaruskali is the second largest producer globally, after Nutrien Ltd, VTB Capital said.

The expanded U.S. sanctions do not change global supply and demand, but may lead to more Belarusian potash shipping to China and India, Scotiabank analyst Ben Isaacson said in a note, adding that North American potash producers Nutrien and Mosaic Co stand to benefit.

Nutrien shares rose as much as 3.4% in Toronto, while Mosaic stock gained as much as 3.9% in New York.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt and Rod Nickel; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Marguerita Choy)


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