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Potassium chloride (KCl) composed of chlorine and potassium is an odorless metal halide salt having a colorless crystal appearance. It is a naturally occurring mineral which is formed by the evaporation of the ancient sea beds. The compound is also known as “Muriate of Potash” (MOP) which is generally associated with its use as fertilizers. Potash is the most widely used fertilizer which comes in a variety of colors from red or pink to white depending upon the recovery and mining process used. White potash, also known as soluble potash is majorly used for liquid starter fertilizers. KCl naturally occurs as sylvinites when combined with sodium chloride (NaCl). Potassium is one of the three major nutrients necessary for plant growth. It serves as a regulator for different processes within the plant. Potassium chloride is widely consumed in the agriculture industry as potash fertilizer. Other applications of KCl include pharmaceuticals, chemical, and food processing. It is also used in treating hypokalemia and as an electrolyte replenisher. With the growing trend of biofertilizers in the agriculture industry, potash is being increasingly implemented as potash mobilizing biofertilizers for the purpose of enhancing the growth of the plant. According to The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), approximately 30 potash expansion projects have been planned by manufacturers between 2013 and 2017. Large scale companies such as PotashCorp have made significant investments in brownfield potash expansion projects for the future accelerating the demand for potassium chloride over the next few years
Growth of the fertilizer industry has been one of the major factors driving the demand for potassium chloride in potash fertilizers. The global outlook for the fertilizer industry has been showing a positive growth, following the progressive demand for phosphate and potassium demand in emerging regions such as Asia Pacific. However, fluctuations in the prices of potassium chloride have resulted in creating unstable prices for crops and raw materials which has fuelled uncertainty for farmers. This factor is expected to hamper the growth of the market. Growing trend towards developing bio-based fertilizers is expected to provide new opportunities for the growth of the market.
Demand for potassium chloride has been significantly high in Asia Pacific on account of improved agricultural productivity governed by regulatory bodies with the modernization of agricultural practices and equipment In addition, this region is anticipated to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period, rising at a CAGR of 5.2%, from 2013 to 2019.Increasing farmer subsidies, and raising minimum prices for key commodities have contributed towards the growth of several emerging economies such as China and India. The share of North America in the KCl market has been noticeable owing to the regions’ focus on advanced farming technologies.
Agrium Inc., Arab Potash Company, Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), JSC Belaruskali, PotashCorp, The Mosaic Company, and Uralkali among others are some of the key players present in the potassium chloride industry. In addition, the potassium chloride market is fragmented due to presence of several large and medium scale potassium chloride manufacturers on a global as well as regional level.