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[SMM Analysis] one of the 2019H1 battery material production data in China: cobalt prices halved year-on-year and struggled to rebound in the short term.
Jul 5,2019 16:42CST
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Source:SMM
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM, July 5 / PRNewswire-Asianet /-

More than halfway through 2019, the new energy industry is gradually shuffling off the flashy, facing the dilemma of reshuffle. At this special time, the SMM New Energy Analysis team investigates and integrates the production data of China's core battery materials, summarizes the trend characteristics of the price trend, and makes a judgment and forecast of the price trend in the second half of the year.

This is the first of a series of analysis reports, which describes the conclusions and forecasts of the core data of the cobalt industry:

From January to June 2019, China's total cobalt sulfate production was 22300 tons, up 24 per cent from a year earlier and 11 per cent from the second half of 2018. SMM expects cobalt sulfate production to be 25000 tons in the second half of 2019, up 24 per cent for the whole year.

From January to June 2019, China's total cobalt chloride production was 15100 tons, up 15 per cent from the same period last year and 18 per cent from the second half of 2018. SMM expects cobalt chloride production to be 12000 tons in the second half of 2019, up 3 per cent for the whole year.

From January to June 2019, the total production of cobalt oxide in China was 25700 tons, down 5 per cent from the same period last year and 4 per cent from the second half of 2018. SMM expects to produce 26000 tons of cobalt oxide in the second half of 2019, down 4 per cent for the whole year.

From January to June 2019, the total production of ternary precursors in China was 140000 tons, up 65 per cent from the same period last year and 23 per cent from the second half of 2018. SMM expects the production of ternary precursors in China to be 170000 tons in the second half of 2019, up 55 per cent from the same period last year.

In the first half of 2019, the average price of cobalt in SMM metal was 285500 yuan per ton, down 53% from the same period last year, and the average price of cobalt sulfate was 5.43%. The average price of cobalt chloride was 62800 yuan per ton, down 57 per cent from the same period last year, and the average price of cobalt oxide was 20.16 per cent, down 56 per cent from the same period last year. SMM expects the market to show a high premium metal price closer to cobalt salt in the third quarter, cobalt salt metal prices in the range of 16-170000 consolidation, third-quarter demand if there is marginal recovery news, do not rule out the possibility of a short-term rebound in cobalt salt prices.

Production of Cobalt Sulfate in China since January 2018

From January to June 2019, China's total production of cobalt sulfate was 22300 tons, up 24 per cent from a year earlier and 11 per cent from the second half of 2018. The production of cobalt sulfate is growing rapidly, mainly due to the increase in the output of waste recovery production suppliers in Jiangxi and Sichuan, and the production of a large primary cobalt sulfate supply plant in Jiangxi resumed after the Spring Festival this year, with a saturated operating rate. After April 2019, the inflection point for the growth of cobalt sulfate production began to decline, mainly due to the poor performance of demand for downstream precursors, the decline in the price of overseas cobalt raw materials was not as fast as the finished cobalt sulfate, the internal and external prices were hung upside down, and the profits of smelters were eroded. Production enthusiasm is damaged. SMM expects cobalt sulfate production to be 25000 tons in the second half of 2019, up 24 per cent year-on-year.

Production of Cobalt Chloride in China since January 2018

From January to June 2019, China's total production of cobalt chloride was 15100 tons, up 15 per cent from a year earlier and 18 per cent from the second half of 2018. The increase in the output of cobalt chloride is mainly due to the conversion of cobalt sulfate production line to cobalt chloride and the increase of cobalt chloride production for self-made cobalt tetroxide in a leading factory in Zhejiang province. After May 2019, cobalt chloride production began to decline, mainly due to the downstream digital market consumer demand into the off-season, and bearish after the market, procurement did not actively begin to wait and see. Buxing is not good, it is difficult to support cobalt chloride to maintain high water supply of cobalt sulfate for a long time, with the disappearance of rising water, the production power of manufacturers is gradually weakened. SMM expects cobalt chloride production to be 12000 tons in the second half of 2019, up 3 per cent year-on-year.

Production of Cobalt tetroxide in China since January 2018

From January to June 2019, China's total production of cobalt oxide was 25700 tons, down 5 per cent from a year earlier and 4 per cent from the second half of 2018. The concentration of cobalt tetroxide production increased significantly, and the cobalt price was hung upside down in the first half of 2019. The shipping cost of small and medium-sized manufacturers was under great pressure, and the operating rate decreased. In the first half of the year, there were 5 manufacturers with an output of more than 3000 tons, with a CR5 of 81.3 per cent. SMM expects cobalt oxide production to be 26000 tons in the second half of 2019, down 4 per cent year-on-year.

Production of Ternary precursors in China since January 2018

Comparison of output and Model ratio of Ternary precursors in China in January and June 2019

From January to June 2019, total production of ternary precursors in China was 140000 tons, up 65 per cent from a year earlier and 23 per cent from the second half of 2018. Since 2019, the output of ternary precursors in China has been good, with a monthly output of more than 20,000 tons. The precursor industry has long-term overcapacity, the operating rate fluctuates in about 60%, and now the industry reshuffle storm is coming. Although the output is expected to increase in the second half of the year, the concentration will gradually increase. In the first half of the year, there were 10 enterprises with an output of more than 5000, with an CR10 of 80 per cent. SMM expects China's ternary precursor production to be 170000 tons in the second half of the year, up 55 per cent from a year earlier.

From the point of view of output structure, the progress of high nickel is stronger than that at the beginning of the year, but at present, the mainstream of the market is still 5-6 series, and the total proportion of 5-6 series is still as high as 69%. SMM expects the proportion of medium and low nickel products to continue to decline in the second half of the year, 6 series as a transitional product, market share may be maintained at about 20%, 5 series products market share shrinkage is more significant.

In January 2018, cobalt products in China have a specific price for cobalt sulfate.

In the first half of 2019, the average price of cobalt in SMM metal was 285500 yuan per ton, down 53% from the same period last year, and the average price of cobalt sulfate was 5.43%. The average price of cobalt chloride was 62800 yuan per ton, down 57 per cent from the same period last year, and the average price of cobalt oxide was 20.16 per cent, down 56 per cent from the same period last year.

Looking back over the past 18 months, because the price of cobalt sulfate directly represents the pulse of cobalt's most high-profile new energy terminal consumption, SMM selects it as the core price comparison factor, and will compare the price of cobalt smelting products on behalf of other traditional consumers to measure and compare the pricing factors in different periods of time in the process of cobalt price fluctuation. Generally speaking, the specific price of cobalt and cobalt tetroxide to cobalt sulfate fluctuates between 1 and 1.1, and the price of cobalt chloride and cobalt sulfate fluctuates around 1. In December 2018 and March 2019, similar metal cobalt and cobalt tetroxide to cobalt sulfate exceeded a reasonable range. In the two times in history, the price of cobalt sulfate has been significantly higher, on the one hand, reflecting the stronger supply and demand side of the traditional consumer market at that time, on the other hand, there is a marginal repair of demand for new energy downstream: in December 2018, the Spring Festival reserve demand increased; in March 2019, the new subsidy policy landed, downstream rush to pull demand month-on-month rise. Can cobalt sulfate repeat the first two waves of the market? SMM thinks it's hard. The half-year output performance of new energy is not as expected, the market is pessimistic about achieving the production target this year, and the marginal demand is difficult to improve in the third quarter. On the other hand, cobalt in Zambia has recently begun to resume production, and the increase in supply is still expected, and the performance of the digital end this year has also been affected by macro instability, making it difficult for fundamentals to maintain strength for a long time. High specific price metal advantage is difficult to continue for a long time, marginal repair of demand is not strong enough, SMM expects the market performance in the third quarter of high premium metal prices close to cobalt salt, cobalt salt metal prices in 16-170000 consolidation, the third quarter of demand if there is marginal recovery news, do not rule out the possibility of short-term rebound in cobalt salt prices.

SMM Cobalt Lithium Research team

Hong Lu 021 51666814

Ning Ziwei 021 51666780

Qin Jingjing 021 51666828

 

 

 

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