US lead scrap prices rose for some grades as exports picked up, while batteries prices gave back the gains seen last week as suppliers tried to gauge end-of-the-year demand.
The weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries declined by 0.3¢/lb to 29.5¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday as supply continued to outpace demand, a trend that suppliers see lasting through the end of December.
The batteries market has remained largely unaffected by rising exports for now, though some suppliers are keeping a close eye on the rising lead scrap exports this week. According to a producer with operations in the Midwest and the East Coast, rising exports could challenge scrap prices especially as demand is expected to increase in the winter season.
Exports in the lead scrap market are rising with bids for soft lead being heard at around 79¢/lb with some suppliers ready to pay even more. However, the domestic scrap market has trended sideways amid adequate flows. Market participants expect the domestic market to rise soon if the export market remains active.
The Davis Index for heavy soft lead increased by 1¢/lb to 68.6¢/lb delivered US consumer, while hard lead inched down by 0.2¢/lb to 62¢/lb delivered. Lead ingot premium rose in tandem with strengthening exports and a rising LME Lead market with the index rising by 0.1¢/lb to 10.3¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract.
The LME Lead prices, which had surged by over $100/mt last week, ticked up slightly, with the official three-month LME Lead contract closing Wednesday at $2,046/mt up by $4/mt from $2,042/mt on Nov 25.