In general, the short-term logistics interruption in South Africa increases the risk of cobalt raw material supply shortages, and cobalt prices may skyrocket in the short-term; long-term cobalt raw material supply shortages are less risky, logistics and transportation costs increase, and cobalt prices are expected to fluctuate slightly.
Domestic cobalt prices are rising again
According to data monitoring: this week, the cobalt market is not continuing its upward trend. There have been twists and turns. Since July 7, the cobalt price has fluctuated and adjusted, and the increase in cobalt prices has slowed. On July 13, the cobalt market ushered in another turning point. It skyrocketed again. As of July 16, the cobalt price was 376,333.34 yuan/ton, an increase of 5,200 yuan/ton, or 1.39%, from the 371,166.66 yuan/ton cobalt price on July 13. In the short-term cobalt price continues to rise, where will the cobalt market go?
Unrest in South Africa disrupts logistics
The arrest of former South African President Zuma triggered many protests and riots. On July 12 (Monday), protesters launched a large-scale nationwide protest demonstration in South Africa, and the situation further escalated danger. On the evening of the 13th local time, a spokesperson for the South African Police Department stated that the protests had spread in many provinces in South Africa. On July 14, South Africa reported again that the protests had led to the closure of multiple ports in KwaZulu-Natal. The highway from KwaZulu-Natal to various parts of South Africa was disrupted. Among them, the port of Durban, South Africa's import and export hub and one of the busiest shipping terminals on the African continent, has been brought to a standstill because of this protest, but the protest seems to continue to spread.
Affected by the riots caused by the South African protests, some shipping companies in the Port of Durban issued force majeure letters stating that they have temporarily suspended operations, and given that the force majeure time cannot be confirmed for how long it will last, the re-operation time is yet to be determined. According to a notice issued by Maersk, a large number of warehouses in the interior of Durban have been closed. The Durban port terminal is in a stagnant state due to lack of staff and equipment. Logistics providers have suspended services, which has caused import and export interruptions. The logistics interruption in South Africa will inevitably affect the transportation of cobalt raw materials, and the transportation of cobalt raw materials is restricted, which will stimulate the rise of cobalt prices.
Congo (DRC) is the most landlocked Democratic Republic of Congo, where most of the cobalt is mined in the world. It mainly transports cobalt through neighboring African ports (mainly including Durban Port in South Africa and Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania) . The unrest in South Africa caused the Port of Durban to become stagnant, and the recovery time is yet to be determined.
Data analysts believe that, as one of the most important cobalt raw materials transportation ports, the stagnation of Durban Port will inevitably lead to a sharp drop in the short-term export of cobalt raw materials. Due to the long shipping time period, the shipping time from South Africa to China is about 1.5-2 months, and there will be no shortage of supply in the domestic cobalt market in the short term. With the continuous development of the unrest in South Africa and the continued development of the epidemic, the risk of shortage of cobalt raw materials has increased. At the same time, the unrest in South Africa has stimulated the search for transportation routes outside of South Africa. The overall risk of supply shortages in the cobalt market is limited. In general, the short-term logistics interruption in South Africa increases the risk of cobalt raw material supply shortages, and cobalt prices may skyrocket in the short-term; long-term cobalt raw material supply shortages are less risky, logistics and transportation costs increase, and cobalt prices are expected to fluctuate slightly.
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