US lead scrap and batteries prices were flat in a quiet market at the end of the year, as buyers and suppliers paused on transactions until January 2021.
The weekly Davis Index for lead ingot premiums, which had risen by 0.7¢/lb to 10.9¢/lb under the three-month LME Lead contract on Dec 23 held at those levels this week. Lead ingot premiums have gradually risen in December amid limited availability of the material.
Wide swings in premium quotes were reported as late as last week depending on market participants’ need for volumes. Lead ingot premiums were quoted as low as 9¢/lb under the three-month LME lead contract and were as high as 12¢/lb at the higher end of the price range.
The index for whole undrained batteries, which began inching up towards mid-December on strengthening export demand remained unchanged at 32.3¢/lb delivered US consumer on Wednesday.
Although demand for batteries and lead scrap has remained robust in the export market, some suppliers were hindered by a shortage of containers that have started causing delays in shipments since last week. Market participants expect prices to slip if these delays continue into January.
The Davis Indexes for heavy soft lead and hard lead also trended flat at 77.4¢/lb delivered US consumer and 64.5¢/lb delivered, respectively, on Wednesday.
The LME Lead prices increased this week with the official three-month LME Lead contract closing Wednesday at $1,981.50/mt inching up by $9/mt from $1,972.50/mt on Dec 23.