May 25, 2015
The CDI Conference: What We Learned About the Cobalt Market
Sentiment at the CDI conference this month was upbeat amid anticipated supply shortage. Here is a summary of what we learned.
- Most market participants expect higher cobalt prices before the end of this year. Major traders see prices at $13.5-15 per lb if Chambishi Metal resumes production at the end of June, and at $14-16 per lb if the closure lasts longer.
- Closure at Chambishi may last for "at least" three months and may last longer than expected, according to sources. Some market participants are predicting a permanent shutdown of the operation.
- China's cobalt metal imports have been low this year, with ENRC not supplying on long-term basis due to the closure at Chambishi. Ambatovy meanwhile is selling robust volumes around the world.
- Jinchuan Group is planning to reduce its cobalt metal output by around 16% to 3,200 tonnes this year, according to an official heading Jinchuan's nickel and cobalt operations.
- China's cobalt consumption is expected to rise by 13% to about 4,300 tonnes this year, according to an Antaike analyst.
- Battery makers in South Korea and Japan have both reported solid demand from the automobile sector, with one Japanese major company expecting a surge of 70% for battery demand in the next two years.
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