Why are Chinese cobalt prices struggling to keep pace with uptrend in international benchmark metal price?

Though the international benchmark cobalt metal price has been on a steady uptrend in recent months, cobalt metal and sulfate prices in China have struggled to keep up due to sluggish downstream demand – a factor which participants expect will keep the Chinese market under pressure in the near term.

Upstream sellers in the global cobalt market continue to hold feedstock materials in tight hands and are making aggressive offers amid improved demand and a higher international benchmark cobalt metal price – particularly since September. This has allowed the upward momentum in the benchmark price to persist.
Fastmarkets’ benchmark price assessment for cobalt standard grade, in-whs Rotterdam, was $30-30.50 per lb on Tuesday November 23, narrowing upward by $0.40 per lb from a day earlier. The price has risen by 8.9% since the beginning of November, when it was assessed at $27.40-28.15 per lb.
Against this continuous uptrend in the international benchmark price, Chinese market participants turned cautious and became increasingly hesitant to purchase cobalt metal and sulfate, leaving the market in an overall stalemate.

Chinese cobalt metal and sulfate prices eventually drifted lower after buyers continuously rejected higher offers, brought about by sellers’ attempts to...


Carrie Shi

Zihao Li

November 24, 2021

06:15 GMT

Shanghai, Beijing