PRICING NOTICE: Metal Bulletin launches China cobalt sulfate price assessment [UPDATED]

Metal Bulletin has launched a price assessment for cobalt sulfate, 20.5% min Co, ex-works China, published as a $ per lb adjustment to the low end of Metal Bulletin’s existing benchmark low-grade cobalt price assessment.

After a consultation period, Metal Bulletin has launched a price assessment to cover the Chinese cobalt sulfate market. Cobalt sulfate, of which China is the largest producer in the world, is one of the key materials used to produce lithium-ion nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs).

Therefore, Metal Bulletin aims to provide a regular tracker of Chinese cobalt sulfate prices on a spot basis and capture the evolution of the cobalt sulfate market in the country.

The newly launched China cobalt sulfate price assessment will enhance Metal Bulletin’s coverage of the battery raw materials supply chain in response to the looming EV boom.

In addition, the new price assessment will also serve as an essential complement to Metal Bulletin’s existing coverage of cobalt prices, which include low-grade and high-grade cobalt prices on a $ per lb basis, as well as Chinese cobalt metal and tetroxide prices on a yuan per tonne basis.

The specification, delivery terms and publication timing of the China cobalt sulfate price assessment, which will be added to Metal Bulletin’s price book on Wednesday May 2, are as follows:

Price: China cobalt sulfate, Co 20.5% min, ex-works, adjustment to low-grade cobalt low-end price at Co 20.5% basis, $/lb
Type: assessed range
Currency/unit: USD per lb
Quality/shape: crystal; feed from cobalt ores & concentrates, cobalt intermediates, such as crude cobalt hydroxide (materials produced from cobalt scrap are excluded)
Chemical specification: Co: 20.5% min, Ni: 0.001% max, Cu: 0.001% max, Fe: 0.001% max, Zn: 0.001% max
Lot size: one tonne
Payment terms: on bank acceptance (other payment normalized)
Delivery window: within 30 days
Publication: twice a week on Wednesday and Friday, between 2pm and 3pm London time

To calculate the adjustment, spot cobalt sulfate data will be collected in yuan per tonne and Metal Bulletin will use the US dollar sell price published by the Bank of China every Wednesday and Friday at about 3pm Shanghai time.

The formula to calculate the adjustment is as follows:

a. China cobalt sulfate price/1.16*/forex rate/2,204.62 = China cobalt sulfate, ex-works, $/lb
b. Metal Bulletin low-grade low-end price x 0.205 = Metal Bulletin low-grade cobalt low-end price at Co 20.5% basis, $/lb

Final premium/discount, $/lb = a-b

*China’s value-added tax (VAT) has been adjusted to 16% from 17%, as specified in the consultation notice, to reflect the decision by the country’s Finance Ministry and State Administration of Taxation to cut VAT on all imported goods by 1 percentage point, effective May 1, 2018.

Metal Bulletin has no financial interest in the level or direction of this assessment.

In the context of growing scrutiny around the cobalt supply chain, please note that Metal Bulletin and Euromoney plc are committed to the Modern Slavery Act.

If you have any queries or feedback concerning the details of the China cobalt sulfate price assessment detailed above, or would like to contribute to the price discovery process, please contact Susan Zou or Charlotte Radford by email at: Please add the subject heading ‘FAO: Susan Zou/Charlotte Radford, re: China cobalt sulfate price assessment.’

Metal Bulletin is also consulting on possible changes to its benchmark cobalt metal price assessments, and will provide due notice should these changes affect the calculation of the cobalt sulfate price adjustment.

To see all Metal Bulletin’s pricing methodology and specification documents go to

[This article was first published on May 3, 2018, and was updated on August 15 with additional information for quality and shape in the price specification]

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