FOCUS: Logistics bottleneck freezes global cobalt trade flows

Global trade flows of cobalt metal have been frozen by logistics disruptions including high freight costs and a shortage of available containers, market participants have told Fastmarkets.

Cobalt metal is a highly liquid commodity, with traders moving metals on their books around the globe depending on price differentials between Asia and Europe.
But in the past 2-3 months, such trade flows have been disrupted, and some trader sources reckoned that, even with European prices still higher than those in Asia, logistics bottlenecks would restrict international traders’ appetites to move the blue metal from Asia to western countries.
Fastmarkets’ latest price assessment for cobalt standard grade, in-whs Rotterdam, was $24.25-24.75 per lb on Thursday September 16, while the corresponding price assessment for cobalt 99.8% Co min, ex-works China, was 360,000-385,000 yuan ($56,968-59,854) per tonne on September 15.
Units have been trading on average at prices about $1.20 per lb higher in Europe than in China (excluding Chinese VAT) in the past month, according to Fastmarkets’ calculations.

China exported a total...

Published

Susan Zou

Dalila Ouerghi

September 16, 2021

18:20 GMT

London, Shanghai