SMU Data and Models

Steel Mill Lead Times: HR Less Than Four Weeks

Written by Tim Triplett

Lead times for most flat rolled steel products continue to shrink, according to returns from Steel Market Update’s latest market trends questionnaire. Lead times for steel delivery are a measure of demand at the mill level—the shorter the lead time, the less busy the mill, and theoretically the more flexible the price. Lead times for hot rolled now average less than four weeks, cold rolled less than six weeks, galvanized about six and a half weeks, and Galvalume seven weeks.

Hot rolled lead times now average 3.91 weeks, the first time they have been less than four weeks since October 2017. This year’s peak for hot rolled delivery was 5.73 weeks in April.

Cold rolled orders currently have a lead time of 5.80 weeks, after declining steadily from 8.19 weeks in May. Last October was also the last time CR lead times were below six weeks.

The current lead time for galvanized steel is 6.44 weeks, the lowest point for the year and about the same as this time last year. Galvanized lead times this year peaked in June at 8.46 weeks.

At 7.11 weeks, Galvalume lead times have seen little change since mid-August. AZ lead times peaked this year at 8.40 weeks in June.


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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