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Scrap lead battery prices nudge upwards

Keywords: Tags  lead scrap, zinc scrap, lead batteries, Nathan Laliberte

Free-market scrap lead battery prices have increased slightly as moderately higher demand weakens supply.

Smelters’ buying prices on whole spent lead-acid batteries moved to a range of 38 to 40 cents per pound Jan. 29 from 37 to 40 cents previously.

Prices are expected to rise through February, one buyer said.

“For the next 30 days, batteries should be in vogue,” the buyer said. “Typically, the manufacturers are producing batteries from September to February, with demand dropping off during the spring and summer months.”

Three-month lead continued its climb on the London Metal Exchange, closing at $2,386 per tonne ($1.08 per pound) in the Jan. 29 official session, up 6 cents from Jan. 16.

“I think the primary market is highly priced,” a scrap lead seller said. “Unfortunately, scrap prices have been slow to follow. People are trying to buy really low. As soon as they can’t buy on the cheap, prices will adjust accordingly.”

All other scrap lead grades were unchanged.

Meanwhile, prices for zinc scrap have continued to trend closely with terminal markets, which have strengthened.

The three-month zinc contract closed the LME’s official session Jan. 29 at $2,080.50 per tonne (94.3 cents per pound), up 5 cents from Jan. 16.

New zinc clippings rose to a range of 65 to 67 cents per pound, up from 63 to 65 cents previously, while old zinc increased by 2 cents to a range of 50 to 52 cents per pound from 48 to 50 cents previously.

Galvanizers’ dross rose to a range of 67 to 69 cents from 65 to 67 cents previously.

“The LME is up and so is scrap,” noted a buyer of scrap zinc. “It’s pretty plain and simple.”

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