Chinese cobalt sulfate prices continue to slide but at slower pace

Chinese cobalt sulfate prices continued to edge lower although the pace of decline has slowed as spot prices have fallen to below production costs.

Metal Bulletin assessed cobalt sulfate, China ex-works, basis Co 20.5% at 98,000-100,000 yuan ($14,346-14,639) per tonne on Wednesday August 18, down 2.5% from previously. Meanwhile, its discount to Metal Bulletin low-grade cobalt low end price at 20.5% Co basis came at $1.22-1.33 per lb, compared with $1.21-1.38 per lb on August 3.

Weak sentiment amid the persistent fall in international cobalt prices, the seasonal consumption lull, tight cash flows, and suppliers’ urgency to destock ahead of further price drops all helped send mainstream spot transaction prices below 100,000 yuan per tonne.

“The market seems to have entered into a deadlock – trading has been thin as neither suppliers nor consumers have a clear projection on the price outlook,” a producer said.

“There are so many uncertainties, along with a lot of buzz and speculation around us, true or false. All of these are influencing our judgement and sentiment,” he added.

Meanwhile, the lack of clarity over the price outlook has also deterred consumer interest in building up stocks.

Story originally appeared in Metal Bulletin