Japan Used Lead Battery Export to Korea Continues Strong Increase

Japanese export of used automotive lead battery continues increasing to South Korea, which is main material for secondary lead ingot. South Korean trade statistics showed the import from Japan increased by 8.4% to 6,911 tonnes in May from April and hit the record high volume for 2 months in a row. South Korean importers seem to be increasing used battery purchase from Japan as alternate source for the USA when used battery market price is surging in the USA.

South Korea is the world largest importer of used automotive lead battery. The total import was 18,768 tonnes in May, increasing by 5.3% from April. The import decreased by 2.9% from a year earlier. The unit import price increased by 3 US cents to 96 US cents per kilogram from April.

The import was 2,360 tonnes from Sudan, 1,921 tonnes from New Zealand, 1,608 tonnes from the USA and 1,259 tonnes from the Dominican Republic in May. The import from these major countries increased from April except for the USA.

The import from the USA seems to be decreasing when market price of used automotive lead battery has recently surged in the USA and become higher than South Korean importers’ offer prices. The unit import price jumped by 20 US cents since January and the import volume dropped by 85-90%. The import from the USA represented less than 2,000 tonnes for the first time in 3 years and 2 months.

The unit import price from Japan was 93 US cents in May. The price increased by 3 US cents from April while the price is the lowest among the countries those which exported used automotive lead battery 1,000 tonnes or more. The import volume from Japan exceeded the import from the USA in March and kept the strong increase for April-May. The import reached 6,000 tonnes for the first time in April.