US weekly lead scrap prices increased for the second successive week on Wednesday as demand outpaced supply in the domestic and export markets.
The weekly Davis Index for heavy soft lead climbed by 0.3¢/lb to 89.8¢/lb delivered while mixed hard lead increased by the same amount to 85.8¢/lb delivered US consumer. Some soft lead deals were heard as high as 91¢/lb delivered in the Midwest. Competition between domestic smelters and exporters has pushed lead scrap prices higher, as scrap flows for the material remain limited.
In the meantime, supply continues to outpace demand for scrap batteries especially in the Midwest, where purchases are dwindling in tandem with prices that continue to trend 1-2¢/lb lower than the index. Battery prices in the South are faring better with buyers willing to pay around 33-34¢/lb for the material. The regional variance has resulted in abundant supply with the weekly Davis Index for whole undrained batteries inching down by 0.6¢/lb to 30.7¢/lb delivered US consumer.
The batteries market is expected to remain rangebound in the 30-32¢/lb range at least until the end of this year since there is enough supply to keep prices at these levels until December.
Lead ingot supply continues to remain limited resulting in the Davis Index lead ingot premium remaining high despite a slight decrease of 0.5¢/lb to 17.5¢/lb delivered. Offers for this material are heard as high as 28¢/lb in some markets, though these levels do not represent the current pricing trend of the industry.
The official three-month LME Lead contract increased by $10.50/mt from Aug 18 to close at $2,328.50/mt today.