NEW YORK Scrap lead
battery tags were stable this week amid steady demand and
supply, although further price drops could force more units
into the export market, traders said.
Junk auto batteries were
unchanged at 36 to 38 cents per pound, with many consumers
forecasting further price drops in the near future as cold
weather increases domestic supply.
One consumer said his company
was currently quoting at 36 cents per pound, but "well be
moving that down again on the first of the month to 35
However, increased supply could
merely divert more scrap to the export market if those prices
are more attractive, some traders said.
"All they can do is fall to the
next level, which will see them go to Mexico," one broker told
"Theres a capacity limit
in the U.S. now, particularly with Frisco and Reading closing.
There are a lot more batteries than what people can use
domestically," the broker said, referring to the closure of
Exide Technologies battery recycling facility in Frisco,
Texas, and the Milton, Ga.-based companys plan to idle
its Reading, Pa., plant by March 31 (
amm.com, Nov. 9).
"Weve noticed that some of
the Canadians seem to have the stronger numbers," a second
Meanwhile, lead scrap prices
moved up to a range of 80 to 82 cents per pound from 78 to 80
cents, while cable lead moved up to a range of 82 to 84 cents
per pound from 80 to 82 cents.
The second broker said that some
consumers were paying a bit of a premium on these grades in
order to complete their business before the end of the
"I expect next week there
wont be much of anything going on," he said, adding that
high primary lead premiums continue to entice some lead
consumers to use more scrap, another factor in the free-market
The three-month primary lead
contract closed the London Metal Exchanges official
session at $2,333 per tonne ($1.06 per pound) Wednesday, up 4.2
percent from $2,238 per tonne ($1.015 per pound) on Dec. 5.
Meanwhile, zinc scrap traders
said their market could be affected next year by a major
consumer changing its scrap feedstock, although the effects
have yet to be seen.
New zinc clippings rose to 62 to
65 cents per pound from 62 to 64 cents previously, while old
zinc moved up to 48 to 50 cents per pound from 47 to 49