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May 2, 2018

Cobalt, lithium prices weaken on poor demand

SHANGHAI, Apr 30 (SMM) – Sluggish demand weighed on prices of cobalt products and lithium salt in China over the week ended Friday April 27.

SMM assessed refined cobalt at 650,000-675,000 yuan/mt as of Friday April 27, with the average price down 6,500 yuan/mt from a week ago. Small amounts of purchases on demand were done at low prices while sellers lost much of their bargaining chip.

SMM assessed cobalt sulphate at 135,000-140,000 yuan/mt as of Friday April 27, down 3,500 yuan/mt from the Friday before, and cobalt chloride at 158,000-160,000 yuan/mt, down 5,000 yuan/mt. Poor demand drove small-sized smelters of cobalt salt to lower their offers.

SMM assessed nickel sulphate at 265,000-285,000 yuan/mt as of Friday April 27, flat from a week ago.

SMM assessed lithium carbonate at 140,000-145,000 yuan/mt as of Friday, 5,500 yuan/mt lower from a week ago. Greater supplies in Qinghai in April accounted for the drop in prices.

We expect China’s lithium-ion battery market to see steady demand in the second quarter. Cobalt prices are likely to remain rangebound while lithium carbonate prices are likely to dip as supplies grow.

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