U.S. buys record amount of Russian fertilizers from January to July

The United States imported a record amount of Russian fertilizers worth $944 million from January to July, local media reported on Sunday.

The export value of Russian fertilizers to the United States rose by 5 percent in the first seven months from the same period of last year, which stood at $900 million, the previous peak, according to Russia's news agency RIA Novosti.

But in July, U.S. purchases fell threefold compared to June, the lowest since August 2021.

Russia, a major fertilizer producer, was the second largest supplier to the United States in the first seven months of this year, only after Canada.

The U.S. and a host of other Western countries have imposed a wide-ranging sanction regime on Russia after it launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine, but Russian fertilizer exports, which account for 14 percent of the global trade, are not banned by any Western nation. 

The U.S. has said it has no interest in weaponizing food to create humanitarian crises at the expense of vulnerable populations. But Western sanctions targeting Russia's financial institutions have hampered its exports because traders find it harder to process Russian payments or to obtain vessels and insurance.

In the months after Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February last year, benchmark prices for key fertilizers like diammonium phosphate and Urea rose to decade and record highs, respectively. They are now down some 50 percent off those peaks.

(With input from Xinhua, Reuters)

(Cover: NPK-compound fertilizers packed in soft containers at the mineral fertilizers packing department of the Distribution and Logistics Center of PhosAgro-Region, part of PhosAgro Group in the town of Pochep, Russia, October 2, 2018. /CFP)

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