The cobalt market has been quiet this month. Since putting on a strong performance in September, prices for the metal have flattened out, largely due to slow market conditions. However, some believe that cobalt may yet rise as high as $16.85 per pound before the end of 2013.a In a report released at the beginning of October, Metal-PagesaResearchastates that it views the "fundamentals of the market as positive, particularly in relation to the other specialty alloys markets." Specifically, the news outlet identifies three factors that are supporting the cobalt market. Those are: a Positive fundamentals: In terms of supply, global refined cobalt output fell by 6.1 percent in 2012, to 77,189 tonnes; since then, "there has not been a supply response from cobalt producers," meaning that the market is now in a "slight deficit position." On the demand side, the metal's "diverse end user base" is working in its favor. Demand picking up: Metal-Pages Research anticipates demand from that diverse base of end users growing as 2013 draws to a close, noting that "[a]ctivity is beginning to rebound in a number of markets outside of China," where demand is currently fairly weak. Continued deficit:aCobalt's current "slight deficit" is expected to persist into next year, likely reaching a high point at the beginning of 2014, before "new laterite output [is] fully up and running." Metal-Pages Research believes that given those factors, cobalt has already hit its lowest price for this year ($10.85 per pound on January 3), and may rise as high as $16.85 per pound this quarter — an exciting prospect for those who have been watching the metal languish below $14 per pound for most of the year.