US lead scrap prices inched down in the first week of 2021 on limited availability of containers in the export market. However, lead battery prices rose amid winter conditions and a rising LME Lead market.
The weekly Davis Index for lead ingot premiums, resumed its upward climb on Wednesday, ticking up by 0.1¢/lb to 11¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract.
The lead ingots market is witnessing wide-ranging offers on premiums because of the rise in LME Lead this week, along with limited availability of the material. A market participant told Davis Index that on average, premiums were being quoted at 10.5-11¢/lb with the range varying to as much as 15¢/lb in anticipation of rising demand amid supply tightness.
The index for whole undrained batteries continued to inch up in tandem with the increase in the LME market and as the winter settles in. The weekly index for whole undrained batteries moved up by 0.7¢/lb to 33¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday. Moving forward, market participants expect battery prices to remain stable or tick up slightly as export demand resumes.
The containers shortage, which had hindered shipments for many suppliers towards the end of December, continued in the first week of January, leading to an anticipated fall in lead scrap prices as suppliers were unable to fulfill shipments on time due to the issue.
The Davis Indexes for heavy soft lead and hard lead both declined on Wednesday, with soft lead falling by 0.6¢/lb to 76.8¢/lb delivered US consumer, while hard lead saw a steeper drop of 1.7¢/lb to 72.8¢/lb delivered on Wednesday.
LME Lead prices increased this week with the official three-month LME Lead contract closing Wednesday at $2,081.50/mt up by $100/mt from $1,981.50/mt on Dec 30.