In June, buyers returned to the hand-to-mouth style procurement seen in the first quarter, in anticipation of weaker prices materializing over the summer. As a result, prices came under pressure across the supply chain.
The benchmark standard-grade cobalt price fell by 11.4% in June after sellers found themselves holding stock not called off on long-term contracts that they were keen to offload rather than carry into July or the third quarter.
Visible spot buying was limited, and in many cases customers delayed their spot purchases in anticipation of cheaper prices in a few weeks’ time. At the same time, wide discounts agreed in long-term contracts continue to discourage spot, fixed-price sales, or encourage aggressive offers should sellers wish to secure spot sales to reduce their position.
In China, metal prices came under similar pressure owing to the traditionally weaker consumption season, leading to...