US lead scrap prices were rangebound for most grades in a quiet market during a short trading week. However, lead ingot premiums have surged during this period amid tight supply and falling LME Lead prices.
The weekly Davis Index for lead ingot premiums rose by 0.7¢/lb to 10.9¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract on Wednesday, as the material’s availability remained limited, especially in the export market.
The index for this grade has risen by a cent since the beginning of November when it was trending at 9.9¢/lb under the LME Lead contract. Exporters, as well as some domestic battery producers, are hearing of wide swings in the asking price for this grade with anomalies ranging from 9¢/lb at the lower end to 12¢/lb at the higher end of the price range.
The index for whole undrained batteries, climbed again this week increasing by 0.2¢/lb to 32.3¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday.
Demand for batteries and lead scrap remains strong in the export market. However, suppliers are faced with a shortage of containers to ship the material, which has caused inordinate delays, an East Coast exporter told Davis Index. Prices are likely to slip if these delays continue and some market participants are already factoring in this trend continuing even after the holidays, and reducing their prices.
The Davis Index for heavy soft lead was the only grade to decline, falling by 1.2¢/lb to 77.4¢/lb delivered US consumer. Hard lead, on the other hand, jumped 6.3¢/lb to 64.5¢/lb delivered on higher demand in the export market.
The LME Lead prices declined again this week with the official three-month LME Lead contract closing Wednesday at $1,972.50/mt down by $77/mt from $2,049.50/mt on Dec 16.