NEW YORK Free-market junk
lead-acid battery prices have dropped to their lowest level
since March, as demand eases and supply increases as winter
Scrap auto batteries dropped to
a range of 40 to 41 cents per pound from 42 to 45 cents
previously, with the voracious demand exhibited from certain
consumers over the past few months reported to have cooled.
"A couple of places that have
been aggressive have filled up their warehouse space, so
theyve come off on their price," one buyer said.
Batteries have traded upward of
41 cents for much of 2012, with relatively mild winter
conditions in North America earlier this year leading to fewer
vehicle breakdowns. Supply was also squeezed by the
introduction of two new battery recycling facilities from
Johnson Controls Inc. (
amm.com, Sept. 19) and Gopher Resource Corp. over
the past year.
However, that trend appears to
be easing with the onset of cold weather.
"The flow of scrap is picking
up. Weve been expecting it," a second buyer said, adding
that the coming winter could produce a greater windfall of junk
batteries than usual, with many of the car batteries that were
close to failing last winter unlikely to make it through
One consumer said that the lead
price on the London Metal Exchange was also having a bearing on
the lead battery market, which has ignored LME trends for much
of the year. "The LME has been down for a while now, so the
core cost had to come back in line eventually," he said.
Three-month lead closed the
LMEs official session at $2,177 per tonne (98.7 cents per
Meanwhile, zinc scrap prices
were largely unchanged, with galvanizers top dross
widening to a range of 63 to 65 cents per pound from 63 to 64
The LMEs three-month zinc
contract closed the official session at $1,907 per tonne (86.5
cents per pound) Wednesday, up 2.8 percent from $1,855 per
tonne (84.1 cents per pound) Oct. 24.