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Lead scrap prices dip; junk batteries steady

Keywords: Tags  lead scrap, whole junk batteries, battery prices, lead scrap prices, smelter buying prices, LME, Nathan Laliberte


NEW YORK — Free-market lead scrap prices have weakened further, market participants said, as secondary tags trail falling terminal markets.

Smelters’ lead scrap buying prices fell to 78 to 80 cents per pound April 9 from 79 to 81 cents previously, remelt lead weakened to 82 to 84 cents per pound from 83 to 85 cents and cable lead narrowed to 81 to 83 cents per pound from 82 to 84 cents.

The drop in lead scrap prices didn’t fully reflect lower exchange prices, primarily because of an ongoing supply crimp, sources said.

"These prices will stay artificially high until we have a good amount of material to sell," one lead seller said.

Meanwhile, whole junk batteries held steady at 40 to 42 cents per pound, with sources telling AMM that two large battery consumers were pushing the market higher.

"They are paying up even as the (London Metal Exchange) continues to drop," one battery buyer said. "I’m not sure what’s going on, but it seems that the big boys are willing to overpay right now."

Another source speculated that higher demand from international markets was serving to buoy junk battery prices. "A lot of the domestic battery buyers are saying they can’t compete with India at the moment," he said. "One of our importers said that because of India’s ongoing power grid problems, there is tremendous demand from manufacturers in India who make batteries for household use."

The London Metal Exchange’s three-month lead contract ended the official session April 10 at $2,113.50 per tonne (95.9 cents per pound), down 3.3 percent from $2,184.50 per tonne (99.1 cents per pound) March 26.


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