Cobalt Production Shortfall Driving Skyrocketing Prices

Cobalt was perhaps overshadowed by gold and uranium and other base metals during 2007, but the metal’s price is accelerating on tight supplies and a predicted big shortfall as demand grows fast.

Published: 04-Jan-2008

It is not as luxurious as gold or as hot as uranium, but cobalt left its mark in 2007, as the former and the latter overshadowed its profile.

Speculative buying and consumer demand in the face of supply constraints in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the depletion of US government's and former Soviet Union's stockpiles saw the price for the metal surging over 60% in 2007, the highest since a modern market for cobalt trading was established in 1978.

The cobalt market is currently tight, with producer stocks either said to be sold out or running low, resulting in BHP Billiton and Russia's Norilsk Nickel repeatedly increasing offer prices at every sale.

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