Feb 21 (Reuters) - Nutrien, the world's biggest fertilizer producer, reported a fall in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, hit by lower potash prices.

The company reported net earnings of $176 million, or 35 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with $1.12 billion, or $2.15 per share, a year-ago.

Fertilizer companies have grappled with slow demand throughout 2023, as farmers held back on purchases to see if fertilizer prices settle any lower.

Prices had soared in 2022, after sanctions on top exporters Russia and Belarus had tightened supplies of fertilizers.

Potash prices averaged $235 per tonne during the reported quarter, the company said, compared with $526 per tonne a year earlier.

The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 54 cents per share payable, a near 2% increase from its prior dividend declared in November last year. (Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru and Sriparna Roy; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)