Lead Market Update (December 6, 2012)

Spot lead prices are now around $2,230 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. That’s up over 6 percent from around $2,100 a month ago, according to data from Metal-Pages.

Lead looks set to extend those gains, according to commodities research firm Wood Mackenzie. In a recent Financial Times article, the company said that it expects global lead consumption to rise 4.5 percent this year, compared to a 1.9 percent rise for copper.

The metal is also getting a short-term lift from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which is pushing up demand for backup power sources. Wood Mackenzie estimates that the hurricane could boost US lead demand by 3 to 4 percent this year, in addition to the roughly 5 percent increase the firm was already forecasting.

In addition, last year’s warm winter meant that fewer car batteries needed to be replaced, which has lowered the amount of lead available for recycling. That’s an important factor, because recycled lead accounts for over 50 percent of refined lead production.