FOCUS: Cobalt market uncertainty spurs Chinese smelters’ appetite for tolling

The uncertainties surrounding cobalt supply and demand in the near term amid the continuing Covid-19 pandemic has led more Chinese salts smelters to take on tolling business to mitigate risk.

The virus has had an unprecedented effect on the global economy with manufacturing sectors around the world forced to slow in attempts to halt its spread, a dynamic which eventually dented buying interest for cobalt amid stagnant demand for end products like electric vehicles (EVs) and consumer electronics.
Prices for key cobalt salts like cobalt sulfate, the raw material for EV batteries, and cobalt tetroxide, the precursor material to produce lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) batteries used in consumer electronics, have therefore been under great pressure in the past month.
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for cobalt sulfate 20.5% Co basis, exw China stood at 43,000-45,000 yuan ($6,110-6,395) per tonne on Friday April 10, down by 7,000-9,000 yuan per tonne or 15.3% from 50,000-54,000 yuan per tonne on March 11.

Similarly, Fastmarkets’ price assessment for cobalt tetroxide 72.6% Co min, delivered China fell...


Susan Zou

April 14, 2020

06:00 GMT