SHANGHAI, Aug 7 (SMM) – SMM expects a rebound of some 20% in prices of refined cobalt as prices had bottomed out and as mining company Glencore is mulling production halt at its Mutanda mine, the world’s largest cobalt mine, from the end of this year in a falling market.
The Mutanda mine in Congo produced 27,300 mt of cobalt in 2018, more than half of Glencore’s total output last year.
Meanwhile, Glencore-controlled Katanga mining on Tuesday August 6 reduced its 2019 production guidance for cobalt, from 26,000 mt to 14,400 mt.
SMM assessment showed that average prices of spot refined cobalt, with Co content of no less than 99.8%, picked up from 219,000 yuan/mt on July 30 to 230,000 yuan/mt as of Wednesday August 7, after supply glut drove prices down by 68% since April 13 of 2018. Prices rallied on July 30 for the first time in four months.
Offers of cobalt blade on the Wuxi-based China Stainless Steel Exchange stood at 219,000 yuan/mt to 225,000 yuan/mt on August 5, flat from Friday August 2.
Prices of cobalt salts, key materials in the new energy sector, are likely to follow refined cobalt prices higher in the short term. The rally is expected at around 10%, as current fundamentals are unlikely to sustain a significant increase. Downstream producers will continue to focus on destocking.