US lead and battery scrap prices leveled off on Wednesday amid falling LME lead prices. Supply and demand also attained balance in the lead market this week.
The weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries declined from last week by 0.1¢/lb to 34.5¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday.
According to some market participants, the market will begin falling from the highs reached over the last few months. In fact, some smelters are rumored to have hit inventory limits, which could lessen domestic demand for battery scrap this fall. Both producers and scrapyards are building their stocks in anticipation of the next lead battery high season, which is typically mid-winter.
The Davis Index for heavy soft lead ticked up again on Wednesday, rising by 1.3¢/lb to 73.8¢/lb delivered amid strong export demand, although hard lead slid by half a penny to 68.5¢/lb delivered. Moreover, the LME lead price decrease has trapped domestic lead prices within a narrow range, an exporter told Davis Index.
Premiums trended up again this week, with the Davis Index for lead ingot premium climbing by 0.1¢/lb to 9.3¢/lb under the three-month LME lead contract, despite the drop in weekly LME lead prices. Some market participants believe low LME lead prices, along with a material deficit in the US, have driven up premiums.
The official three-month LME lead contract closed Wednesday at $1,915/mt, declining by $64/mt from $1,979/mt on September 2.