SHANGHAI, Apr 21(SMM) - According to customs data, China imported 10,000 mt of cobalt raw material in metal content in March, a month-on-month increase of 44% and year-on-year increase of 21%. Imports totalled 24,400 mt in metal content in Q1.
Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong all saw significant increases in imports, while imports by Hunan Province decreased by 31% MoM.
The YoY increase in cobalt raw material imports from January to March was mainly contributed by higher imports of cobalt intermediate products and unwrought cobalt, while the imports of cobalt ore showed a downward trend.
Thanks to the gradual improvement of land transportation from Congo to Durban, South Africa, the cobalt intermediate products that were backlogged in Durban Port last year were shipped one after another, and the shipping capacity also improved compared with the previous month, thus the import volume of cobalt intermediate products rose considerably in March. SMM expects that the imports of cobalt intermediate products will continue to increase in April.
Recently, South Africa has suffered from severe floods, and the city of Durban has suffered a huge impact. Infrastructure such as bridges, port roads, telecommunications and electricity have been severely damaged, and the port has ceased operations. Durban is the largest cobalt raw material export port in Africa. The latest flood is expected to tighten transportation again. There are many cobalt ore warehouses that were damaged by the flood. Port arrivals will decline in May-June even after ocean shipping recovers. Shipments are expected to be delayed by 2-3 weeks.