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Lead Battery Scrap Market Update 2018 #5 Supply Increase Drives

2018.05.25 11:00

Presence of non-Ferrous scraps without sensitiveness to climb of Index LME prices as well as weaker JPY exchange has become more apparent. The picture brought by imbalance between demand and supply has extended upon aluminum scrap, stainless and a part of copper ones. Now lead battery scrap has come together with this “nominalized” party.

 

While lead price in LME has climbed beyond $2,400/ton with hitting JPY 324/Kg in Japan ex producer, in definitely bullish sentiment, price of lead battery scrap has been under strong downside pressure from demand-supply slack and supply increase of battery scrap, where some of elementary lead smelters have cut the purchase prices citing heavy stocks and restriction of cargo acceptance.

 

 

graph

 

 

While in western Japan, the lead battery scrap (automotive battery, same hereafter ) stands at JPY100-105/Kg in high side range, which is one mainly for secondary lead smelters or dismantlers of lead battery grid. Elementary lead smelters take it under JPY95/Kg nearing unlimitedly JPY90/Kg. In western Japan region, exporters transport the scraps to battery dismantlers treating more than 1,000 tons monthly. Lead battery grid’s final consumers are lead smelters in Japan.

 

While elementary lead smelters are generally operating at highest scale which confirms sustaining digestion of lead battery scrap, seeing export fall to Korea and forthcoming extremely tough export environment, traders and shippers are concentrating on transaction with lead smelters and dismantlers of lead battery grid, all of which contribute consequently to pile up stocks at lead smelters and bring up constant downside bias of prices

 

Assuming the scrap export to Korea reduces in a gradual pace to reach nothing since July, August onward, pressure from over stock of lead battery scrap will be amplifies to inevitably drive price fall to a couple of stages.

 

In a worst story, treatment of lead battery scrap can not catch up the stock spill over in Japan and the scrap possibly turns into mere industrial waste.

 

Since during the deliberation over Basel Act revision last year, the government tightened conditions for export application by judging the scrap can be treated in Japan given export to Korea stops and therefore it is well understandable t that the government seriously wishes to digest lead battery scrap in Japan.

 

However amid export volume of the scrap to Korea continuing 6,000 tons – 7,000 tons monthly, treatment capacity for lead battery scrap at secondary lead smelters as well as elementary ones is nearing full scale and this picture calls for some concerns of forthcoming situations of the industry. How far elementary smelters can extend capacity of scrap treatment (on the contrary reduce lead ore treatment ) could be a next convergent issue.  

 

However at the same time, demand for lead battery products in Japan is in decline trend reflecting decrease of the population with automotive production shrinkage. Imbalance between increase of lead battery scrap generation as source and decline of lead battery demand would be problematic circumstances in the future.

 

 

(IRUNIVERSE S. Aoyama)

 

 

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