2020 PREVIEW: Shifts in cobalt hydroxide procurement preferences leave door open to Asia spot trading hub

Cobalt hydroxide consumers will continue to have exposure to the spot market this year, with some of their requirements likely to be topped up from producer stocks held in Asian warehouses, sources told Fastmarkets.

The creation of a nearby spot market has appeal in cutting the long shipping times, as well as reducing the potential for logistical difficulties and price risk associated with shipping material out of Durban, South Africa.
For sellers, re-situating units to Asia can create a competitive advantage, since they are better equipped to respond to consumer demands for smaller top-ups to their stocks, which can come with requests from a nearby delivery date.
At times in 2019, buyers of cobalt intermediates have been able to optimize their margins by taking advantage of swings in hydroxide prices. Larger consumers have taken steps to lock in supply through long-term contracts for 2020 and beyond, but small-to-medium-sized consumers are keen to maintain that exposure to the spot market for the flexibility it provides, particularly when growth of electric vehicle (EV) adoption has slowed in China.

Fastmarkets assessed the price of cobalt sulfate...


Charlotte Radford

January 02, 2020

07:55 GMT