FOCUS: Chinese cobalt sulfate price underpinned despite near-term EV demand uncertainty

Despite uncertainty surrounding downstream demand, the price of cobalt sulfate in China has jumped by more than 12% so far this year, with suppliers either offering the material at aggressively high levels or holding back from sales.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for cobalt sulfate 20.5% Co basis, exw China was 49,000-51,000 yuan ($7,080-7,369) per tonne on Friday January 10, up by 5,000-6,000 yuan per tonne - or 11.1% - from 44,000-46,000 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
The latest assessment is 12.4% higher than the final one of last year, at 44,000-45,000 yuan per tonne on December 27. This followed an initial uptick in battery raw material prices, when the cobalt sulfate price rose by 2.3% from 42,000-45,000 yuan per tonne on December 20.
But contrary to the strong prices in the market of late, spot activity has been slow over the past week and a half, with some market participants expressing skepticism of a decent improvement in demand from the downstream electric vehicle (EV) sector post the Chinese New Year holiday (January 24-30).

Published

Susan Zou

January 13, 2020

10:40 GMT

Shanghai