SHANGHAI, Oct 14 (SMM) – Cobalt prices are expected to be stable post-holiday, according to SMM survey. The price of refined cobalt will drop slightly to 260,000 yuan/mt in the fourth quarter, and the price of battery raw materials will gradually return to a normal level compared with refined cobalt price ratio.
SMM learned that most lithium salt plants have produced normally during the National Day holidays. A small number of manufacturers have started production post-holiday because the equipment maintenance have not been completed before the holidays, and the operating rate will drop by 20%-30%. Output of lithium carbonate in October is likely to remain unchanged, and the output of lithium hydroxide can reach 95% as expected.
Procurement of lithium salt products by downstream material factories was basically completed, and the spot transaction price was relatively stable. Downstream demand for ternary materials increased slightly in October, but the growth rate was weaker than that in September. It is expected that the prices of battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide will remain stable in October.
The cobalt salt market recovered slowly post-holiday, with a few cobalt sulfate manufacturers offering 54,000-55,000 yuan/mt, cobalt chloride offering 65,000-66,000 yuan/mt and cobaltosic oxide offering 220,000 yuan/mt. The prices of cobalt intermediate products remained high this year with strong ternary demand due to cost support and downstream power.
The prices of smelting products showed obvious signs of stabilization. There were few transactions of lithium salt post-holiday and lithium salt manufacturers focused on cargoes under long terms. The spot prices of battery-grade lithium carbonate maintained at about 41,000 yuan/mt with stable transaction prices. The lithium hydroxide market is relatively stable, and the downstream demand has slightly increased, but the price is still under pressure due to inventories.
As for ternary materials and precursors, the market turnover is tepid just after the holiday, and there are many downstream inquiries. The new energy market is active recently, and the demand for ternary procurement has increased significantly. However, the prices of raw materials have not changed significantly and the ternary prices in the power market remain relatively stable.
In the small power and digital market, the market demand decreased slightly, the downstream battery enterprises greatly depressed prices, leading to a decrease in prices of ternary materials and precursors.
SHFE nickel increased slightly to 116,000 yuan/mt post-holiday following LME nickel. Although the supply of battery-grade nickel sulfate is still tight, it has eased to some extent compared with September. The high price of battery-grade nickel sulfate has dropped to some extent. The mainstream price of nickel salt manufacturers stood at 27,000-27,500 yuan/mt amid tepid trade.