* Inventories down by 146,000 tonnes in November
* Inventories 89 pct above prior 5-yr average
TORONTO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - North American potash inventories at the manufacturer level fell slightly in November, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO, the world’s largest producer of the crop nutrient, said on Tuesday.
According to the most recent data, North American inventories fell by 146,000 tonnes in November, but remain well above 3 million tonnes, or roughly 89 percent over the prior five-year average.
Despite major production cuts, potash inventories had risen steadily through the first half of 2009 as farmers concerned about exorbitant pricing and hurt by the credit crunch had deferred fertilizer application.
Buyers of the nutrient were also staying out of the market in anticipation of big annual import contracts signed by India and China, which typically set the tone for spot market pricing. While the Indian contract has been finalized, the contract with Chinese buyers is yet to be signed.
Potash Corp said in November that potash pricing remained flat at just below $500 a tonne. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)