We downgrade Potash Corporation (POT), the world’s leading producer of potash and fertilizer, to Underperform. The company has been hit hard by the global economic crisis, leading to weak demand and prices as farmers reduce their use of fertilizers. This has induced a sharp fall in profits for fertilizer producers.

Potash Corp.’s earnings declined 79% in the third quarter of 2009. The company expects fertilizer demand to remain weak for the rest of 2009, and plans to cut potash production. Potash Corp. has also lowered its expected earnings and slashed 2010 global potash demand expectations.

About 40% of global potash production capacity stands idle since the second half of 2008. The company also expects some of its capacity to remain curtailed in 2010.Zacks Investment Research