US lead scrap prices trended flat to lower, depending on grade, on Wednesday in a quiet market.
The weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries rose slightly amid adequate supply and demand in the domestic market while demand inched up in the export market. Whole undrained batteries moved up by 0.1¢/lb to 33.1¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday as expected by the market.
For now, battery prices vary according to region, with some Midwest producers being able to procure volumes for around 32¢/lb, while some East Coast traders have heard deals at around 34¢/lb delivered.
The lead scrap export market has become quiet as suppliers look to load and ship their current orders, after a shortage of containers disrupted their order fulfillment timelines towards the end of December.
A reduction in new export orders and abundant supply in the domestic market saw the Davis indices for heavy soft lead and hard lead decline on Wednesday for the second consecutive week. Soft lead fell by 2.4¢/lb to 74.4¢/lb delivered US consumer, while hard lead saw a steeper drop of 3¢/lb to 79.8¢/lb delivered on Wednesday.
The weekly Davis Index for lead ingot premiums, fell by 0.1¢/lb to 10.9¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract. A tightness in lead ingot supply continues to affect this market, with some suppliers reporting that they do not have any volumes to offer. Those who have the volumes prefer to hold on to them in the hope of premiums rising further.
LME Lead prices declined this week with the official three-month LME Lead contract closing Wednesday at $2,033.50/mt, down by $48/mt from $2,081.50/mt on Jan 6.