SMU Data and Models

SMU Market Trends: Lead Times Shorten

Written by Tim Triplett


Mill lead times on all flat rolled steel products shortened in the past two weeks, according to Steel Market Update’s latest market trends data. Lead times for hot rolled now average a bit over five weeks, cold rolled a bit over seven weeks, and galvanized and Galvalume at roughly seven and a half weeks.

Lead times on hot rolled steel peaked in early April at 5.73 weeks and have continued to inch downward. Hot rolled lead times now average 5.24 weeks based on the responses from this week’s market trends questionnaire. They are still extended compared with a year ago, however, when HRC lead times averaged 4.50 weeks.

Cold rolled lead times are at 7.27 weeks, down from 7.40 two weeks ago. Cold roll lead times have been as short as 6.27 weeks in early January and as high as 8.19 weeks in early May. Last year at this time, CR lead times averaged 6.06 weeks.

Lead times for coated steels, which have been the longest, shortened up considerably this month. The current lead time for galvanized is 7.76 weeks, down from 8.46 weeks, while Galvalume is at 7.29 weeks, down from 8.40 weeks in early June.

Lead times for steel delivery are a measure of demand at the mill level. The more extended the lead time, the busier the mills. The shortening of lead times, especially for coated steels, may hint at a slight easing of demand.

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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