CHINA COBALT SNAPSHOT: Metal price dips on limited buying interest; sulfate, tetroxide under pressure

Key data from the Wednesday August 29 pricing session in Shanghai.

Cobalt metal
– China domestic cobalt metal price dipped during the midweek pricing session to 470,000-500,000 yuan per tonne ($26.94-28.66 per lb China VAT-free), following local producers’ destocking activities.
– Spot trades have been thin with Jinchuan branded cobalt changing hands at 470,000-475,000 yuan per tonne. Offers for imported cobalt metal, such as Chambishi were around 500,000 yuan, but they met muted buying interest from consumers.
– Continuous exports have reduced local supply to some extent, but this was largely offset by weak demand.
– In addition, falling cobalt sulfate and tetroxide prices have weakened general sentiment and put downward pressure on metal prices.

Cobalt sulfate, tetroxide
– Tight cashflow at the end of month has resulted in hesitation among consumers to buy and urgency among producers to sell cargoes.
– Consumers continued to conduct “hand-to-mouth” procurement with uncertainties in the price outlook.
– There is still no sign of demand recovery despite the approaching traditional consumption peak season in cobalt tetroxide due to substitutions and tolling agreements.

Key quotes:
“Producers have destocked heavily in the past few weeks, and after traders bought the units, they just delivered to Wuxi Stainless Steel Exchange” – a trader
“Limited cashflows are pressuring the spot cobalt sulfate price. Meanwhile, consumers are uncertain about the price outlook because there are no signs of prices stabilizing” – a consumer
“Consumers are still quite cautious and only purchased a little each time” – a producer