US lead scrap and batteries prices mostly moved sideways on Wednesday in a quiet market grappling with tight supply.
The weekly Davis Index for US whole undrained batteries rose to 32.3¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday from 31.9¢/lb delivered on April 15. Batteries prices fluctuated depending on the region, with some market participants offering as high as 34¢/lb in regions with tight supply, and as low as 30¢/lb where supply is abundant.
The index for heavy soft lead inched up to 60.6¢/lb delivered US consumer from 59.9¢/lb delivered, and rose to 58.9¢/lb delivered from 58.3¢/lb delivered for mixed hard lead amid a soft market with several lead producers on maintenance outages during the week.
Market participants expect prices to stay at current level until demand improves. However, supply remains tight for the time being. Scrap flows for material like lead heavily depend on retail scrap, but with stay-at-home orders still firmly in place across most of the country, collections have diminished. The uncertainty around when some of the biggest carmakers in the country—big customers for lead scrap and batteries—will reopen their operations concerns market participants.
The official three-month LME Lead contract also moved in a narrow range during the week to close Wednesday at $1,663/mt, down by $23/mt from $1,686/mt on April 15.