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Lead, zinc scrap prices on the wane alongside LME

Keywords: Tags  lead scrap, zinc scrap, junk batteries, London Metal Exchange, Nathan Laliberte


NEW YORK — Most free-market lead scrap prices weakened this week, with market participants noting that tags had started to follow recent drops on the London Metal Exchange.

The LME’s three-month lead price ended the March 26 official session at $2,184.50 per tonne (99.1 cents per pound), down 2.3 percent from $2,235 per tonne ($1.01 per pound) two weeks earlier.

Lead scrap fell to a range of 79 to 81 cents per pound from 80 to 82 cents previously, remelt lead weakened to 83 to 85 cents per pound from 84 to 86 cents and cable lead fell to 82 to 84 cents per pound from 83 to 85 cents.

“The market is definitely softening up a little bit and is starting to reflect drops on the LME,” one lead scrap buyer said. “Volumes are down, mainly because the yards are holding material in hopes of seeing a bump on the LME.”

Whole junk batteries remained unchanged at 40 to 42 cents per pound, with sources noting that supplies were still relatively low despite recent storms across the Midwest. "We should see supplies increase over the next couple of weeks" one battery buyer said. "Usually there is a bit of a lag between bad weather and junk batteries entering the scrapyards."

Meanwhile, prices for zinc scrap fell across the board, sources said.

New zinc clippings weakened to 63 to 65 cents per pound from 65 to 67 cents previously, old zinc fell to a range of 48 to 50 cents per pound from 50 to 52 cents and galvanizers’ dross dropped to 65 to 67 cents per pound from 67 to 69 cents.

The LME’s three-month primary zinc price ended the March 26 official session at $1,940.50 per tonne (88 cents per pound), down 2.9 percent from $1,998 per tonne (90.6 cents per pound) two weeks earlier.


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