Twice per month, Steel Market Update (SMU) conducts an analysis of the flat rolled steel market from the perspective of active buyers and sellers of sheet and coil products. We invite approximately 560 companies to participate through the use of a questionnaire that we have been using since 2008.
One of the areas probed is in regards to North American (specifically U.S. and Canadian) steel mill lead times. We do not attempt to discover the exact lead times for new prime orders at specific mills rather we are looking for any changes in the trend over time.
For most of 2015 the trend has been for lead times to be much weaker than what was seen during the corresponding period one year ago.
The trend for shorter lead times has continued on all flat rolled products but Galvalume which is running about the same as one year ago. The short lead times are reflective of a weaker than wanted spot order book at the domestic steel mills. In SMU opinion we would need to see lead times move out by a minimum of one week in order for the mills to be able to tighten spot steel prices.
Benchmark hot rolled lead times were reported to average 2.83 weeks which is essentially unchanged from two weeks ago. Lead times have been averaging approximately 3.0 weeks over the past two to three months. One year ago HR lead times were at 3.95 weeks (4 weeks).
Cold rolled average lead times were reported to be 4.74 weeks at this time. This is slightly shorter than the 5.0 weeks reported two weeks ago and well below the 6.04 weeks reported during the first week of November 2014.
Galvanized lead times actually improved to 5.31 weeks from the 4.98 weeks reported two weeks ago. Even with the improvement, GI lead times are almost one week shorter than what was reported one year ago (6.11 weeks).
Galvalume lead times also made a slight move out from 6.0 weeks two weeks ago to 6.22 weeks this week. AZ lead times are just about the same today as they were one year ago (6.15 weeks).
To see an interactive history of our Steel Mill Lead Time data, visit our website here.
John PackardRead more from John Packard
Latest in SMU Data and Models
SMU Steel Demand Index sags, hits four-month low
Steel Market Update’s Steel Demand Index has moved lower, having remained in contraction territory for the better part of the past two months, according to our latest survey data.
SMU market survey results now available
The latest SMU market survey results are now available on our website to all premium members. After logging in at steelmarketupdate.com, visit the pricing and analysis tab and look under the “survey results” section for “latest survey results.” Historical survey results are also available under that selection. If you need help accessing the survey results, […]
SMU survey: Current Buyers’ Sentiment flat, Future Sentiment falls
SMU’s Current Steel Buyers’ Sentiment Index was flat this week, while the Future Sentiment Index slipped, according to our most recent survey data.
SMU survey: Steel mill lead times largely stable
Mill lead times for flat-rolled steel were mostly stable over the past two weeks. With several mills slow to come out of outages and upgrades, cold rolled and coated lead times have been holding up better than hot rolled.
SMU survey: More sheet buyers find mills willing to talk price
The percentage of sheet buyers finding mills willing to negotiate spot pricing rose or remained relatively flat on the products SMU surveys, while plate slumped, according to our most recent survey data.