In contrast, Chinese competitors have suffered from the spike in coal prices in response to Beijing’s decision to limit production last year – about three-quarters of China’s urea is produced by first burning coal into gas.
“Low-cost shale gas in the U.S. has transformed the competitiveness of a number of industries for which energy accounts for a high share of input costs,” Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, told the WSJ. “One of the biggest winners has been the U.S. chemicals industry.”
U.S. growth is expected to continue as a number of long-planned new plants, which usually take four years to build, come online this year. U.S. ammonia production capacity is projected to jump buy 2 million metric tons this year to around 11.4 million metric tons, and urea production capacity could increase by 4.1 million metric tons this year.
“Because of the energy advantage through the shale gas revolution, U.S. fertilizer producers are globally among the most competitive,” Incitec Pivot Chief Executive James Fazzino, told the WSJ. “If the current [Trump] administration delivers on the commitments around energy advantage, cutting unnecessary red tape and developing an attractive taxation environment, that advantage will become even more pronounced.”
The agribusiness ETFs all track international agricultural companies. MOO includes a hefty 51.0% position in U.S. names, with big names like Monsanto, and a small 0.3% position in Chinese firms. PAGG also includes 42.1% in U.S. and VEGI holds 46.1% in U.S. companies. CROP, though, favors Japan exposure at 37.4%, followed by U.S. 21.4%.
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