US lead scrap prices increased by 4-6¢/lb on Wednesday, as both demand and LME prices steadily rose—although the index for lead scrap batteries trended sideways.
The weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries increased by 1.1¢/lb to 35.2¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday.
The supply of scrap and new batteries outweighed demand and kept prices for the material moving within a narrow range this week, although a few spot deals were heard at higher prices in the Midwest. The sales of new batteries have increased, resulting in higher scrap batteries supply as consumers have begun replacing their old ones, according to a market participant.
The index for heavy soft lead increased by 4.5¢/lb to 71.5¢/lb delivered US consumer and spiked by almost 6¢/lb for hard lead to 66.9¢/lb delivered on Wednesday. Premiums, which were flat last week, moved up by almost a penny this week with the lead ingot premium climbing to 8.9¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract from 8¢/lb, despite higher lead inventories at LME warehouses.
A steady increase in LME lead, along with better demand for the material, this week led to rising lead scrap prices and lead ingot premiums. The official three-month LME lead contract closed Wednesday at $2,014.50, up by $60.5/mt from $1,954/mt on August 12.
Market participants expect LME lead prices to touch at least $2,120 before better supply tempers the rise. Overall, demand and buying activity for lead scrap has steadily risen again after a short period of stabilization in early August.