FOCUS: Low China cobalt price spurs speculative buying; market participants doubt rebound

A multi-year low in the cobalt metal price in China triggered the speculative buying witnessed over the week to July 12, which is likely to be followed by restocking activity in the spot market, Fastmarkets learned.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the price for cobalt 99.8% Co min, ex-works China was at 210,000-230,000 yuan ($12.27-13.43 per lb, minus China VAT) per tonne on Friday July 12, down nearly 68% from a multi-year high of 675,000-690,000 yuan per tonne in April 2018.
The September cobalt contract price on the Wuxi Stainless Steel Exchange dropped to 195,000 yuan per tonne on July 11 amid a weak spot market, the lowest level in over three years, according to market participants.
About 350 tonnes of cobalt exited Wuxi sheds after the July contract expired, market participants told Fastmarkets, adding that long positions for forward futures contracts have increased quickly on the platform.
The unilateral open interest on the September cobalt contract on the Wuxi Stainless Steel Exchange amounts to nearly 2,800 tonnes, as of July 16, compared to 2,000 tonnes in mid-June.


Susan Zou

July 17, 2019

15:15 GMT