US lead premiums soar on high producer costs

Oct 01, 2012 | 04:35 PM | Barbara O'Donovan

Tags  lead, premiums, junk batteries, LME, barbara o'donovan

NEW YORK — Spot lead premiums in the United States have soared in recent weeks due to high raw material costs at secondary smelters.

Premiums for 99.97-percent material have spiked to between 14 and 16 cents per pound, double the 7- to 8-cent-per-pound range earlier in the year.

"Lead prices in the U.S. have gone berserk based on scrap value," said one lead trader, who pegged spot premiums at between 15 and 20 cents per pound.

"In the last 30 to 45 days, premiums have moved up significantly," a second trader said. "It’s not so much demand-led as it is supply that isn’t plentiful."

The run-up in lead premiums comes as secondary smelters, which supply about 70 to 80 percent of lead to the U.S. market, have raised their selling prices to consumers after the price of junk batteries increased significantly due to a fall in supply after the mild winter (, Aug. 29).....

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