FASTMARKETS -- Metal Bulletin heard different voices at Antaike’s Battery Materials Conference held in Shangyu, China on July 18-20.
China’s cobalt market looks healthy, despite recent declines. Cobalt prices look like they have bottomed out in China, Aaron Cao, president of Shanghai Greatpower told delegates.
Recent negativity stemmed from weaker seasonal demand, a squeeze on credit in China, and inventory sales during a falling market. Prices for Chinese domestic cobalt metal, min 99.8%, fell to lows of 520,000-540,000 yuan ($76,826-79,781) per tonne in early July, from highs of 675,000-690,000 yuan per tonne in early April, but have stabilized over the past week while international cobalt prices continued to cool.
NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW -- The equation could not be simpler. Electric cars are widely considered the future of the auto industry. Each electric car battery requires about 10 kg of cobalt. Control the cobalt supply, win the future.
China, clearly, has done the math.
Most of the cobalt produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- the world's top source of the metal by far -- is purchased by Chinese companies like Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and refined back in China. The strategy appears to be to control the supply chain so that electric car production is virtually impossible without Chinese involvement.
FORBES -- On July 6, additional Chinese tariffs came on nearly $35 billion of U.S. products in retaliation to U.S. tariffs on an equal value of Chinese exports. Indeed, a heightening trade war with China is once again exposing a very dangerous energy and national security vulnerability for the U.S.: the need to import high levels of critically important minerals. In fact, of the 90 mineral commodities that our U.S. Geological Survey tracks, we are more than 50% import reliant for 50 of them and 100% import reliant for 20, including very important rare earth elements. This 250% increase in 60 years shows how badly our mineral supply chain needs rebuilt.
This import dependency is a massive hole in the U.S. energy security apparatus that needs plugged immediately. From the lithium-ion batteries used for electric vehicles, computers, and cell phones to building solar panels and wind turbines, such resources are essential to our current and future energy systems. We've been spending $7-8 billion a year on imported minerals, and future expenses can only go higher as their strategic value widens. "U.S. energy security begins at home."