MetalMiner Clarifies Comments on the Metal Bulletin Cobalt Quotation

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Minor Metals

We wrote earlier this month about the forthcoming cobalt contract on the London Metal Exchange and evaluated the pros and cons of launching a minor metal like cobalt as a futures contract. Broadly we came down in favor of the decision, feeling it would create more options for small to medium processors to hedge their risk and hence gain much needed funding from financial institutions. In the process, we may have over stepped the mark in reporting comments we received concerning one of the the historical benchmarks, the Metal Bulletin Cobalt quotation. We reported that the quotation was not widely respected. We would like to put the record straight. Clearly the MB price is widely used by both buyers and sellers as a reference point for contractual terms and we would not want to suggest that it was arrived at without due diligence on the Bulletin’s part. The fact that some parties had reservations should not detract from the point that in the absence of anything else, it was the best the market had to go on. Hopefully, the new LME contract will provide a completely liquid and transparent market price that all parties can have faith in. However somehow we doubt it. In our experience, you can never satisfy all of the people all of the time. Meanwhile we are sure the market will continue to function perfectly well based on the MB Cobalt quotation until the new LME contract starts in early 2010.

–Stuart Burns

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