Falling oil prices will adjust potash fertilizers export plans in 2015
In 2015, the Belarusian Potash Company plans to export 9 million tonnes of potash, which is 5.3% less compared with 2014. The expected decrease in potash exports Q4 2015 is due to the fall in oil prices, which has led to the devaluation of national currencies in China, Brazil and India, main buyers of potash fertilizers. Belarus exports circa 90% of produced fertilizers, which means that production volume might decrease to levels of 2014; that chemical industry would no longer have a positive impact on the industrial production index; that Belaruskali would contain investment costs; and that foreign currency earnings would only slightly exceed the 2014 volumes (USD 2.7 billion) thanks to higher prices on potash fertilizers in H1 2015. The worsening outlook for potash fertilizers sales will curb influence on the pace the Nezhinski project is implemented (by Slavkaly) and on the development of the Petrikov deposit (by Belaruskali).
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.