* China cobalt stocks at 4,000-5,000 t, enough for 3 months
* Implies jump in cobalt demand from 2008
* Govt trying to encourage exports of "value added" metal
BEIJING, Sept 3 - China has enough cobalt stocks for three months of consumption, equivalent to about 4,000-5,000 tonnes, an executive from Jinchuan Group, China's top producer of the metal, said on Thursday.
China imported 2,300 tonnes of cobalt powder and metal in the first half of 2009, up from 800 tonnes in all of 2008, he said. Cobalt is a minor metal used in aeroplane parts and batteries.
"There were massive imports after March because the price in the international market was much lower than in the domestic market," Jinchuan Group's marketing manager Bao Xingwang said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Beijing.
Asked about the likely level of Chinese imports in the second half of 2009, he said: "It depends on the price. But I don't think it will be as high as in the first half."
Based on consumption of 4,500 tonnes of cobalt in three months, Jinchuan's estimate implies China is consuming 18,250 tonnes a year, up 35 percent from last year's 13,519 tonnes, as estimated by a cobalt producer in March.
China plans to encourage exports of high-value-added and finished products of minor metals, as currently most exports are primitive products, a senior official from the Ministry of Commerce said.
In the case of molybdenum, China exported nearly 30,000 tonnes of raw materials in 2008, compared with only 2,000 tonnes of molybdenum chemical and products, Liang Shuhe, a deputy director of the department of foreign trade at the ministry.