The major phosphate producing countries are China, US and Morocco as shown below. China’s production is mainly dedicated to the domestic market. More than 88% of global phosphate reserves are concentrated in North Africa and the Middle East with a single player, OCP from Morocco holding 75% of world reserves.
The dominant players in North Africa and the Middle East also dominate the seaborne phosphate rock merchant market and represent 77% of exports and hence exert a strong control over merchant rock supply. India is the major importer of phosphate rock and phosphoric acid. Morocco, the world’s largest phosphate exporter aims to increase its downstream phosphate fertilizer production, reducing phosphate rock shipments to the merchant market. All in all, tight phosphate rock supply is supportive of phosphate rock prices
Finally, grades of existing phosphate mines have been steadily decreasing leading to a scarcity of high grade (above 32% P2O5 content) high quality merchant phosphate rock
Global Phosphate Rock Production (2012)
Source: CRU and Integer
Global Phosphate Rock Reserves (2012)
Source: Mosaic and CRU