Russia's Uralkali hopes potash producers will sign a new supply contract with India, one of its largest customers, by the end of this month, Uralkali head of sales Vladislav Lyana told a conference call on Wednesday.

The deal, if reached, would be a rare instance of India signing a potash supply contract with a major producer before China. Contracts with China usually set a price floor and benchmark for other markets.

"China and India have delayed signing contracts for shipment by sea because of large inventories. But now stocks are declining and India may sign the deal with the producers this month," Uralkali head of sales Vladislav Lyan told a conference call, organised for analysts after the company posted its first-quarter sales.

Both China and India, the world's biggest fertiliser consumers, usually sign their contracts for potash purchases earlier in the year. This year, deals were delayed by high stocks built up by farmers and by drought in India.

Major suppliers to India also include Belarus Potash company, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Agrium Inc, Mosaic and K+S.

Uralkali's previous contract with India was signed in May 2015 for twelve months and set potash supplies at 800,000 tonnes at $332 per tonne.

Uralkali also told the call on Wednesday it expected 2016 production between 10.8 million and 11.2 million tonnes and capital expenditure at 22 billion roubles ($342 million).

($1 = 64.3244 roubles)

Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin and Natalia Shurmina; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Potter.