NEW YORK Lead premiums
are unchanged as U.S. consumers mostly remain out of the spot
premiums remain in a range of 13 to 15 cents per pound,
according to traders, producers and consumers, although some
traders reported weak supplies of primary lead.
"We have nothing to sell right
now, but we have had a lot of inquiries," one trader said.
"Lead and zinc are really hard to come by at the moment."
Premiums are unaffected so far due to a lack of fresh demand,
Lead stocks in London Metal
Exchange-listed warehouses in the United States totaled 48,775
tonnes March 7. Most of the materialsome 46,750
tonnesis in Detroit, but little is available as the queue
for getting metal out of the warehouses is about 550 days (
amm.com, Feb. 27).
A recent increase in the price
of free-market scrap lead batteries, the main raw material used
in the production of secondary lead, also has helped premiums
remain high. AMMs junk auto battery price
strengthened to 40 to 42 cents per pound in late February from
39 to 41 cents previously (
amm.com, Feb. 27).
The market for secondary-quality
lead is slightly weaker than that of primary lead, according to
one market source, who put premiums for secondary material at
between 10 and 13 cents per pound. But low lead prices on the
LME could provide a boost for demand for primary metal, the
market source added.
Three-month lead traded at
$2,171 per tonne (98.5 cents per pound) in the LMEs
official session Monday, down markedly since January, when
three-month metal traded above $2,400 per tonne ($1.09 per
This could mean that people will
buy primary lead instead of secondary material, some sources
"With the LME prices so low,
primary is more competitive than secondary," the market source
Domestic premiums for primary
lead remain much stronger than those in Europe, where premiums
are in a range of $40 to $85 per tonne (1.8 to 3.9 cents per