Global and China Cobalt Industry Report, 2017-2021
In recent years, the global refined cobalt market has been in a state of oversupply, but the inventory has been decreasing year by year. In 2016, the global refined cobalt output and consumption were 107,600 tons and 103,800 tons respectively, indicating the excess supply of 3,734 tons which fell 29.3% from the year 2014. In 2017, the global cobalt supply and demand structure will be reversed, with the supply gap of 3,320 tons, because: First, in recent years, the cobalt price has been hovering at a low level, some cobalt mines have reduced or ceased production, and no large cobalt mines have been put into production, resulting in the slowdown of the cobalt supply. Second, the cobalt metal demand has soared quickly as the demand for new energy vehicles continues to grow. It is expected that the global cobalt market will face a tight supply situation in 2017-2021, with the gap of 12,000 tons by 2021.
Affected by the market supply and demand pattern, the prices of cobalt and cobalt products at home and abroad have been rising since July 2016. Till early March 2017, the prices of MB cobalt (high grade) and MB cobalt (low grade) jumped by more than 125% and 117% to USD25.13 / lb and USD23.73 / lb respectively. As the contradiction between supply and demand becomes increasingly prominent, the cobalt price will keep swelling in 2017, but with the relatively low growth rate.
China is the world's largest producer of refined cobalt, with the output of 63,000 tons and holding a global share of 58.6% in 2016; the output is expected to grow to 72,500 tons in 2017. Also, China is the largest consumer of cobalt around the globe, and the consumption increased by 5.3% year on year to 45,800 tons in 2016, accounting for 44.1% of the global total. In 2017-2021, the consumption will keep an AAGR of at least 12%. By 2021, China’s consumption of refined cobalt is expected to exceed 80,000 tons, mainly thanks to the fast-growing new energy vehicle and lithium battery markets.
At present, battery material is a sector where cobalt finds most application in China, accounting for 76.6% in 2016 and potentially 79.0% in 2021.
Amid the relatively stable global cobalt market structure, cobalt mines are mainly occupied by Freeport, Glencore, Umicore, Vale and other foreign companies. In 2016, Freeport ranked first in the world by cobalt output with the share of 11.8%, followed by Glencore with 9.1%.
Chinese cobalt enterprises center on cobalt smelting, and the scale of production has been gradually centralized. Huayou Cobalt, Jinchuan Group, Shenzhen Green Eco-manufacture Hi-tech and other major Chinese cobalt producers have been extending to ternary materials and other cobalt downstream markets through acquisitions, erection of new facilities or other ways as well as raising cobalt capacity. For instance, Shenzhen Green Eco-manufacture Hi-tech raised funds at the end of 2016 to build a 5,000 tons/a nickel cobalt aluminum (NCA) ternary power battery material precursor project in Jingmen, a 15,000 tons/a automotive lithium nickel cobalt manganate ternary power battery material project, etc..
The report focuses on the following:
Supply, demand, regional distribution, prices, corporate competition pattern and development trends of the global cobalt ore resources, cobalt concentrate and refined cobalt;
China's cobalt ore resources, cobalt supply and demand, product structure, prices, corporate competition pattern and development trends;
Import and export of cobalt concentrate, tricobalt tetroxide, cobalt carbonate, cobalt nitrate and other major cobalt products;
Development and cobalt demand of battery materials, superalloy, hard alloy, magnetic materials and other cobalt downstream industries;
Operation of 4 global cobalt enterprises and their development in China;
Operation and development strategies of 10 key Chinese cobalt enterprises."