May 29, 2007

Phosphate and Nitrogen Bulls duel for market dominance in the IFA conference trading pit…

This was one of the better conferences that we have attended by most measures. As usual, the IFA staff did an exceptional job. Our Turkish hosts were also most gracious. Istanbul was a welcoming city without exception. If we had a concern at all it was the relative expense, but then again the Yankee peso just doesn’t have the grunt that it used to. We had a lot of interesting food, some of it exceptional…including the very ordinary bowl of breakfast yogurt at the “Intercon”, for the exceptional price of USD 40! We are hopeful that the IFA staff will be able to make hostel arrangements for us next year in Vienna. 

Interestingly enough, it seemed that price was no object for most at this conference…the price of fertilizer that is. This was also the most bullish conference that we can recall having ever attended. Bullish winds have filled the sails of N P & K, and the race is on to uncharted territories. Even the traditionally most recalcitrant buyers seemed to be hostage to this bull market, outwardly at least enjoying the festivities; exhibiting sure symptoms of “Stockholm Syndrome”.
The final dinner was held at the Ciragan Palace in a style reminiscent of times past. Entertainment included the Turkish equivalent of Riverdance. Our revelers were unable to contain themselves, insisting on audience participation as the evening wore on. 

We had to catch an early flight the following morning. As we loaded into an airport van before dawn, two cabs came in to drop off the last of the party goers…in this instance some phosphate producers. It has been awhile since those boys have enjoyed a party.

We left Istanbul with a measure of concern that our fertilizer industry may be calmly sailing into what could be a perfect storm; record prices, a dramatic contraction of food stocks, and a crazed crowd of environmentalists, all converging on the horizon.