COBALT SNAPSHOT: Buyers take step back; prices supported by tight availability of metal

Key data from the Friday May 3 pricing session in London:

Key drivers:
– Rally pauses and spot activity slows; buyers in Europe and parts of Asia were out of the market for some of the week. Some buyers are believed to have covered their nearby requirements last month and are awaiting direction before stocking up any further after the rally plateaued over the past week.
– Sellers have so far proved resistant to cheaper consumer bids; producer availability for prompt inquiries is still understood to be tight, meaning little pressure to sell despite quieter market conditions. Market participants reported receiving offers on the basis of the average of the standard-grade low in May, with premiums up to $1 per lb.

Key quotes:
“It’s at a point where we’ve corrected from the lows and it’s stabilized. There’s just no renewed interest this week” – trader 1

“It’s slightly more bearish and a few more offers are starting to appear; [the rally] has run into headwinds. Having said that, producers still feel pretty well sold, especially for prompt” – trader 2

“I’d be hard pushed to find anything below $16.50, I think” – trader 3

“Cobalt is still being used by these players but we haven’t seen all their demand yet… it will keep trundling forward, just at a slower rate” – trader 4