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Cobalt Price Review and Forecast

iconApr 2, 2024 23:27
Source:SMM
Refined cobalt prices continued to fall in the week ending March 28. Overall, supply was slightly tight and smelters held limited stocks. Peak season underperformed, and inquiries were scarce. Tepid demand recovery and the fact that smelters remain profitable suggest a bearish price outlook.

Refined cobalt

Refined cobalt prices continued to fall in the week ending March 28. Overall, supply was slightly tight and smelters held limited stocks. Peak season underperformed, and inquiries were scarce. Tepid demand recovery and the fact that smelters remain profitable suggest a bearish price outlook.

Cobalt intermediate product

Cobalt intermediate product prices inched lower in the week ending March 28. The amount of cheap goods available was limited in a highly concentrated spot market. With limited recovery of end-user demand, market players in the entire industry chain were wary of restocking at the current high prices. Firm pricing met with pushback from buyers. Potential sell-offs by some cash-strapped traders mean spot prices could still drop.


Cobalt salt (cobalt sulphate and cobalt chloride)

Cobalt salt prices have slightly decreased in the week ending March 28, with stable production despite high raw material costs leading to negative profit margins. Precursor producers are postponing restocking, waiting for confirmed orders, while Co3O4 experienced some restocking due to existing orders. The market shows a willingness from smelters to lower prices and traders to sell stock, leading to reduced transaction prices. Future cobalt salt prices may drop further if weak demand persists and intermediate product costs decrease.


Cobalt salt (Co3O4)

Co3O4 prices were stable in the week ending March 28. Smelters maintained stable operating rates to deliver orders. Downstream LCO makers barely placed new orders after stocking up earlier. While previous price hike did not deter downstream buyers, short-term transactions might hardly grow since most of the demand has already been met. Co3O4 prices may go down amid bearish sentiment.


Nickel sulphate

Nickel salt prices were stable in the week ending March 28 with better-than-expected operating rate and low finished goods inventories. Wet-process recyclers are operating at about 60%, with supply likely to meet or slightly exceed expectations, though still below January levels. Demand has increased slightly for precursor materials. Supply-demand dynamics have eased, maintaining but weakening price support. Despite a drop in nickel prices, high-grade nickel matte discount coefficient remain stable, lowering overall costs and indicating positive raw material profitability. Short-term prices are expected to remain stable, with potential to follow nickel's downward trend in the future.

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