An industry split: Bringing out the cobalt bulls

May 29, 2012 | 10:09 AM |

The cobalt market may have failed to stage a convincing recovery since prices slumped to near three-year-lows in March, but all is not lost for global producers, Metal Bulletin’s cobalt optimists claim. Western producers are far from defeated by recent low prices (low-grade cobalt is hovering at $14-15.10 per lb, and high-grade material is trading at $14.65-16 per lb), arguing that several sources of new supplies, which had been due to come on-stream this year, have not yet materialised.  Some noted that several producers are sold out, while demand on contract is strong. “Consumers are declaring towards max [on their long-term contracts],” one producer said. “We’re struggling to supply. Our material is all committed to long-term customers. Our long-term customers want [maximum] quantity,” a second producer said. Low cobalt prices and delays in the arrival of new supplies have, cobalt optimists claim, led to a growing interest in longer-term contracts from some cobalt buyers. “The profile for....

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