SMU Data and Models

Steel Mill Lead Times: HR Shortening

Written by Tim Triplett


Lead times, especially on hot rolled steel, have continued to gradually shorten over the past couple of months, according to Steel Market Update’s latest market trends data. Lead times for hot rolled now average just above five weeks, for cold rolled a bit less than seven and a half weeks, for galvanized a bit more than seven and a half weeks, and for Galvalume a bit less than eight weeks. Lead times for all these products are significantly extended compared to this time last year.

Lead times for steel delivery are a measure of demand at the mill level. The more extended the lead time, the busier the mills. Shortening of lead times suggests some mills may be looking to fill holes in their order books.

Hot rolled lead times now average 5.18 weeks, down from 5.39 weeks in early July, and down from the April peak of 5.73 weeks.

Cold rolled lead times, at 7.30 weeks, have seen only minor ups and downs since mid-May. Last year at this time, CR lead times averaged 6.38 weeks.

The current lead time for galvanized steel is 7.68 weeks, down from 8.46 weeks in early June. A year ago, lead times on spot orders of galvanized averaged 6.56 weeks.

At 7.89 weeks, Galvalume lead times are relatively unchanged over the past couple months, but up from 6.33 weeks this time last year.

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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