SMU Data and Models

Steel Mill Lead Times: Stabilizing at 5-8 Weeks?

Written by Tim Triplett

Based on responses to this week’s Steel Market Update flat rolled market trends questionnaire, mill lead times remain extended, but appear to have stabilized a bit in the past month.

Mill lead time, which is the amount of time it takes for the domestic mills to produce a new order taken this week, is one of the key proprietary indicators tracked by SMU. Lead times reflect the activity at the mills and the order levels they are seeing from their customers.

SMU’s latest data indicates that the average lead time for hot rolled remains at between five and six weeks, while cold rolled, galvanized and Galvalume are at or near an average of eight weeks.

By product category, hot rolled lead times now average 5.68 weeks, down slightly from 5.73 weeks in early April. Hot rolled lead times have changed little since the beginning of March.

Cold-rolled lead times now average 7.75 weeks, up slightly from 7.50 weeks in early April.

Galvanized lead times topped eight weeks in mid-March and registered 8.13 weeks in the latest data. The lead time for Galvalume moved up to 8.38 weeks from 8.00 weeks one month ago.

Note: These lead times are based on the average from manufacturers and steel service centers who participated in this week’s SMU market trends analysis. Our lead times do not predict what any individual may get from any specific mill supplier. Look to your mill rep for actual lead times. Our lead times are meant only to identify trends and changes in the marketplace. To see an interactive history of our Steel Mill Lead Times data, visit our website here.

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