Japanese Battery Makers to Raise Auto Lead Battery Output in 2H of F2011

Japanese major battery makers seem to enter full production of automotive lead battery in 2H of F2011 ending in March 2012. They plan to increase the production by more than 10% from the same period of F2010 when car makers are aggressively raising their operations. Lead smelters are requested to increase ingot supply while battery scrap supply maintains tight. Lead ingot supply is concerned to tighten toward F2012.

Japanese automotive lead battery production and shipment have represented year-on-year decrease since March 2011, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry. The accumulative shipment decreased by 11% in lead weight for January-July 2011 compared with the same period of 2010.

In and after October, Japanese automakers plan to normalize their operations. One Japanese major battery maker announced to the customers that they plan to increase automotive lead battery sales by 13% in 2H of F2011 from same period of F2010. Japanese major battery makers started to increase the productions in September when electricity regulations were relieved. One maker seems to have already reached full production.

Meanwhile, lead ingot supply is not so easy in Japan. South Korean secondary lead refineries are aggressively purchasing Japanese lead battery scrap, one of main materials for lead ingot, and then the domestic market price is surging to around 80 yen per kilogram. Japanese smelters are forced to decrease battery scrap procurement due to the high price. Thus lead ingot supply is expected to tighten.