PRICING NOTICE: Metal Bulletin will continue pricing low-grade cobalt based on market assessments

Metal Bulletin has decided that it will continue to price cobalt metal based on market assessments by its editorial team, having concluded an in-depth consultation with the cobalt industry.

Metal Bulletin has decided that it will continue to price cobalt metal based on market assessments by its editorial team, having concluded an in-depth consultation with the cobalt industry.

Between January 2014 and June 2014, Metal Bulletin invited anyone active in the cobalt market to contribute to a consultation, which may have led to it deciding to price low-grade cobalt based on London Metal Exchange prices from January 2015.

On the basis of that consultation it will continue to publish prices based on its own reporters’ assessment of the market, as it does at the moment.

Metal Bulletin considered the opinions of over 50 participants in the cobalt market from across the supply chain, including producers, consumers and traders; and price-takers as well as price-makers.

It then put the opinion of each respondent into the following categories: for Metal Bulletin basing its low-grade cobalt price on LME prices; against; impartial.

The consultation produced the following results.

– 23% of respondents were broadly in favour of Metal Bulletin basing low-grade cobalt prices on London Metal Exchange prices.
– 62% of respondents were broadly against the proposal.
– 15% were broadly impartial. 

Please see the charts below for more information 

Metal Bulletin also considered the arguments for and against the proposal when making its final decision.

Below are some examples of the detailed responses that Metal Bulletin received during the consultation.

In favour:

“You’d be moving with the market. It’s looking for a price it can trade on.”

“Once pricing is governed by the LME, supposed sellers below the market will be found out.”

“This model [gives further feedback on the details of the proposal] serves our interest best and we believe the interest of the industry as it follows the pricing basis used for other LME traded commodities when physically contracting with end users on a spot or contract basis.”


“We respect the MB number and we share our information with MB so we can try to make sure MB’s price is reliable.”

“This is the biggest threat the industry has ever seen. [If Metal Bulletin makes this move] The voice of a few players is being heard above the voice of the industry.”

“We are not sure why this is being contemplated. Certainly it can’t be that LME prices are more realistic when there are so few trades. When was the last trade? Your log clearly shows… volume…”

“I think the LME will grow, but it’s not up to a journalist or a magazine to say this or decide this… If people don’t like it they could go to another price. I’m against the LME for now, but it might change. The change must be dictated by the market, not MB.”

“I’m getting tired of people pointing to the MB and saying you are not transparent or representative. You have been a lot more transparent with a trade log. I can tell you, there is no difference between you and other publishers or the LME.”


“The LME is still not active enough although the new pricing mechanism could in turn help activate the LME market.”

“I have no problem with either. We can give the reform a go.”

“The LME will either take off now or never.”

Metal Bulletin’s conclusion

Metal Bulletin aims to be guided by the interests of the market.

Metal Bulletin understands that, at this moment, basing low-grade cobalt prices on LME prices does not appear to be in the interests of the majority of respondents.

Metal Bulletin reiterates that it has no plans to amend its cobalt pricing procedure. It will continue to price cobalt (high-grade and low-grade) as it has done historically.

Click here for Metal Bulletin’s cobalt specification.


Metal Bulletin is aware, however, that interest in London Metal Exchange pricing is growing, and it will continue to monitor this development.

In an effort to support those who would like to price cobalt based on LME prices, Metal Bulletin has launched premiums for three grades of cobalt: ingots; broken cathodes/briquettes; cut cathodes/rounds.

Metal Bulletin will provide further details on the consultation process, and its outcome, soon, but wanted to inform the market of its decision as rapidly as possible.

To contribute to Metal Bulletin’s cobalt pricing process, please contact

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