SHANGHAI, Jan 26 (SMM)—China imported 9,100 mt (Co content) of cobalt raw materials in December 2020, up 2% from November, but down 9% from a year ago, customs data showed. Imports totalled 90,000 mt (Co content) in 2020, basically the same as the previous year.
China imported 258 mt (Co content) of cobalt ore in December, down 19% on the month, but up 23% on the year. Total cobalt ore imports stood at 4,200 mt (Co content) in 2020, declining 42% from a year ago. Imports of intermediate products of cobalt hydro-metallurgy came in at 8,200 mt (Co content) in December, down 15% on the year, and totalled 79,600 mt (Co content) in 2020, 2% lower than the prior year. Imports of unwrought cobalt stood at 671 mt (Co content) in December, surging 41% on the month and 198% on the year, and totalled 6,200 mt (Co content) in 2020, soaring 281% year on year.
Import prices of intermediate products of cobalt hydro-metallurgy averaged $32,170/mt (Co content) in December, up 4% from November and 37% from a year earlier, and $26,947/mt (Co content) in 2020, up 6% on a yearly basis.
Imports of intermediate products of cobalt hydro-metallurgy were basically in line with expectations in December, and are expected to fall in January 2021. Meanwhile, imports of unwrought cobalt topped expectations in December as the import arbitrage window opened in the second half of the month, and are likely to maintain above 600 mt (Co content) in January.
Imports of cobalt raw materials are likely to continue to fall in February as the COVID-19 pandemic deteriorated in South Africa.