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Lead Battery Scrap Update 2023#5 Continues to Rise, Approaching ¥80

In late July, the domestic lead battery scrap market continued to rise regardless of the index market price, although not with the rise in temperature. In the Kanto region, the price for automotive batteries was around 75 yen per kilo, industrial batteries around 60 yen per kilo, and motorcycle batteries around 70 yen per kilo. In some parts of the country, motorcycle batteries are also moving at the same price as automobile batteries, and some routes are expanding.

 

Changes in Lead Quotations and Lead Battery Scrap Market Prices Last 3 Months

 

 

In Kansai and western Japan, as in the Kanto region, prices for all types of lead battery scrap are rising, and lead refiners in the region are raising their purchase prices as needed to 75-80 yen per kilogram for automobile batteries in an effort to increase shipments.

 

This high price is partly due to the fact that less battery scrap is being generated than in previous years, but it is also due to the high prices charged by non-Japanese dealers, mainly Chinese dealers.

 

However, the price of battery scrap in Japan is still low compared to the Asian battery scrap market, and it is likely to reach 100 yen, not 80 yen. A person in charge at a secondary lead smelter with a neutral point of view is calmly looking at the market.

 

In the Kanto region, Chinese and Bangladeshi auto dismantlers in the Chiba and Ibaraki areas are also focusing on collecting battery scrap, which has led to strong distribution at high prices, expanding the front line.

 

MIRU, however, anticipated this situation early on and issued an alert. Now Japanese dealers are on the defensive. The market environment has been fairly calm for the past three years, and some domestic refining companies have reported substantial or even record profits. However, the competition is no longer with exports to Korea as it once was, but with non-Japanese dealers in Japan. It is safe to say that the era of the "lord of the house" business is completely over.

 

Some Chinese companies have obtained permits from local authorities to properly perform the dismantling process, and some are even producing bullion. Although still in the trial stage, the day is not far off when this will become a full-scale operation.

 

However, there are some cases where it is doubtful whether they have actually obtained a permit, such as HK Shokai (# initials, not company name) in Ibaraki Prefecture, which is said to be producing up to bullion. The purchase price of this company seems to be leading the Kanto region.

 

It is believed that there are many companies that dismantle and dispose of cars without obtaining a license or permit. In the case of batteries, we do not know how they manage and dispose of waste materials such as dilute sulfuric acid solution.

 

According to a Japanese manufacturer of secondary lead refineries, they are constantly contacted by people, probably of Chinese descent, who boldly ask them to teach them how to dispose of waste liquid and to allow them to tour their factories.

 

Recently, there has also been a string of arrests of Chinese scrap dealers for encouraging illegal employment, etc.

 

The presidents of Chinese scrap dealers in Kyoto,Amagasaki were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal employment.

 

In Japan, however, even if the owner is arrested, his company is not ordered to suspend its business and can continue its operations. Although Japan is a friendly country for overseas recyclers, if they continue to operate their businesses with inappropriate treatment and a management system different from that of Japanese companies, and if they are competitive on this basis, they are not competing on the same playing field. It is no different than exports to Korea in the past, where Korean secondary smelters were getting high prices for battery scrap by illegally dumping lead tailings.

 

If that has only changed domestically, then the government will need to take some measures, such as some kind of remedial action order or suspension of business.

 

(iruniverse YT/ translated by G・Mochizuki)

 

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