Nutrien Ltd. ( NTR Quick Quote NTR - Free Report) is benefiting from higher prices and healthy demand for crop nutrients, its actions to boost production and strategic acquisitions amid headwinds from higher costs. Shares of Nutrien, a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, have gained 48.8% over the past year against the 60% rise of its industry.
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Nutrien is benefiting from solid demand and higher prices for fertilizers, backed by the strength in global agriculture markets. The company is also gaining from higher net realized selling prices for crop nutrients as witnessed in the second quarter of 2022. It witnessed higher sales across all the segments in the quarter, driven by higher selling prices and strong demand. Potash prices have been driven by robust global demand and tight supply. Tight inventory along with healthy demand is also driving phosphate prices globally. Lower global supply availability stemming from reduced operating rates, strong demand and a spike in energy prices are likely to have also boosted nitrogen prices. Supply constraints are driving ammonia and nitrate prices. Higher prices are expected to drive the company’s sales and margins for full-year 2022. Nutrien is also taking actions to boost potash production in the wake of tightening global potash market conditions. The move is in response to strong market fundamentals and is geared to enable its customers have the crop inputs they require to feed a growing population. Its actions to boost production are supporting its potash sales volumes. The company is also well placed to gain from acquisitions, cost efficiency, and increased adoption of its digital platform. It continues to expand its footprint in Brazil through acquisitions. However, the company’s nitrogen business is exposed to headwinds from higher natural gas prices. Natural gas is a key component in nitrogen production costs. Nutrien is seeing a rise in cost of goods sold per tons for nitrogen as a result of higher natural gas costs. Higher gas costs may continue to impact the company’s nitrogen margins over the near term. Nutrien also faces headwinds from elevated raw material costs. The company witnessed higher sulfur and ammonia input costs in the first half of 2022. Nutrien is expected to see continued pressure from raw material cost inflation.
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