FOCUS: Cobalt hydroxide talks get running start after 2020 disruptions

Limited availability and a solid outlook for electric vehicle (EV) demand have given annual contract negotiations for cobalt hydroxide a kick start, but discussions for cobalt metal may evolve over a longer period, market sources told Fastmarkets.

While Covid-19 has hit global economies and dented consumer sentiment, it also put low-carbon economies at the forefront of government policy and expected stimulus spending, in doing so, helping to underpin anticipated EV demand growth. In contrast, for more traditional cobalt-consuming industries, the timing and certainty of recovery is less clear.

This year’s long-term contracts for the supply of cobalt hydroxide, which is the preferred feed for refineries producing cobalt sulfate for battery applications, have performed steadily. Buyers have continued to take their contracted volumes and turn to the spot market for top-ups, despite disruption from Covid-19. The production of battery cells in Asia largely continued during the first phase of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, while manufacturers sought to keep on top of orders.

Tight intermediates availability
Furthermore, delays and bottlenecks when shipping material out of Durban - a frequent route for shipping feed...


Charlotte Radford

Susan Zou

October 26, 2020

11:35 GMT

Shanghai, London