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May 21, 2018

LME Asia Week: Industry calls for stable cobalt prices

HONG KONG, May 17 (SMM) – Cobalt prices have deviated from its current fundamentals, and the industry will reap greater benefits if prices stabilise. This was the perspective of participants at the electric vehicle panel at the LME Asia Week conference on Thursday May 17 in Hong Kong.

“We hope prices can have a more stable development so miners like us would have longer term profits,” said Weiguo Ma, executive vice-president at Wanbao Mining.

Excessively high prices will drive the industry towards new technology or other alternatives, he said.

Ma added that supplies of cobalt will continue to increase till 2020, but output growth will begin to slow from 2021. That is when he sees a deficit resulting.

In fact, the development in ternary lithium-ion batteries lowered the ratio of cobalt due to high prices. The use of nickel is gaining popularity.

Yaozhong Chen, general manager at Huayou New Energy Industrial Group, said that he looked forward to new tools to better manage price volatility.

LME CEO Matthew Chamberlain said earlier in the day that the exchange is looking to launch cash-settled cobalt and lithium contracts as part of its growth strategy.


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