SHANGHAI, Apr 16 (SMM) – Trading in the spot cobalt and lithium market saw much movement during the week that ended Friday April 13, SMM learned.
Traded prices of cathode material products remained flat from last week as the slower-than-expected downstream consumption weighed on prices upstream.
SMM sees downward room in prices of lithium salt in the second quarter of the year as newly arrived lithium salt products in the market will undergo quality improvements.
SMM assessed spot prices of refined cobalt at 665,000-683,000 yuan/mt as of Friday April 13, up 3,000 yuan/mt from a week ago. While high costs prompted major manufacturers and importers to raise offers, downstream buyers adopted a watch-and-wait approach and mostly purchased as needed.
SMM assessed spot prices of cobalt sulphate at 140,000-144,000 yuan/mt, and spot prices of cobalt chloride at 162,000-166,000 yuan/mt, both flat from last week. Cobalt salt traded rangebound as downstream consumption remained weak. Domestic inventories of cobalt sulphate accumulated in March, an SMM survey showed. With cobalt prices at high levels, sellers with high inventories of finished products were eager to destock but allowed buyers little bargaining room.
Weak demand and the slump in prices of refined nickel weighed on prices of nickel sulphate. SMM assessed the price of nickel sulphate at 26,500-28,500 yuan/mt, down 1,000 yuan/mt from last week.
In the lithium carbonate market, poor demand continued to grow supplies. While small- and medium-sized sellers and traders were keen to destock, speculators purchased cautiously. SMM assessed lithium carbonate at 148,000-150,000 yuan/mt, 1,000 yuan/mt lower from a week ago.
SMM expects demand for lithium batteries to remain firm in the second quarter and that cobalt prices are likely to hover at high levels. A supply glut is also likely to pressure prices of lithium carbonate.
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