US lead and battery scrap prices trended sideways to down on Wednesday amid weakening demand and tight supply.
The weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries declined by 0.3¢/lb to 34.7¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday bringing an end to a good summer season for scrap batteries businesses. The market for whole undrained batteries is expected to trend sideways to down during the fall season as market participants restock their inventories for the next wave of demand in winter in the US.
The lead scrap and batteries market has been quiet over the past week with dealers witnessing an uneven flow in material across scrap yards. Demand for lead scrap exports has also leveled off resulting in a softening of prices.
Macroeconomic trends remain top-of-the-mind for the industry with both buyers and suppliers concerned over the impact of a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections as the country moves into the autumn season. According to a market participant, this wave could result in scrap facilities being shut down or becoming acutely short-staffed, which in turn could affect collections.
Soft lead prices saw the most significant decline in a month on Wednesday, with the index for heavy soft lead falling by 2.4¢/lb to 71.8¢/lb delivered US consumer on weak demand from buyers. Hard lead remained level with last week, inching up by 0.1¢/lb to 69¢/lb delivered on Wednesday.
Lead ingot premium, however, has risen due to tight supply and declining LME Lead prices. The Davis Index for lead ingot premium rose by 0.4¢/lb to 9.6¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract.
The official three-month LME Lead contract closed Wednesday at $1,873/mt down by $39/mt from $1,912/mt on September 16.