NEW YORK Aluminum service
centers are reporting a surplus of certain products, with lead
times for some alloys as short as two-and-a-half months.
Lead times for non-aerospace
2000- and 7000-series plate are between 10 and 12
weeks, sources said, while lead times for 6000-series plate are
around 11 weeks.
One service center source told
AMM that "2000 and 7000 non-aero plate is out there
and 6061 plate is quite plentiful, too. There seems to be a lot
of material out there. Some distributors are sending out
surplus lists. That tells you that (mills) arent moving
product as fast as they thought they were and things are
Service center sources also said
that material is in surplus at mills and with traders.
"You can get 6000 in 10 to 12
weeks or less," a second service center source said.
"Theres plenty of 6000 supply. Mills are calling asking
if we need 6000 plate."
Lead times for aerospace 2000-
and 7000- series alloys are unchanged at between three and five
months, in slightly from six months seen earlier this year, and
service centers maintain that those without contracts will have
to wait to get the material.
"Its a tight market (for
aerospace 2000- and 7000- series). If you dont have a
contract youre in trouble," the second service center
"If youre buying 2000- and
7000-series aerospace (without a contract) its still
subject to inquiry," the first service center source said.
Service centers are keen to keep
stock levels low in light of the looming fiscal cliff, although
those polled by AMM believe President Obama and
Congress will find a solution.
Kaiser Aluminum Corp. chairman,
president and chief executive officer Jack Hockema told
AMM last week he was confident that lean inventories
could help service centers weather the storm even if no
resolution comes by year-end and the United States. enters a
amm.com, Nov. 21).
Until the fiscal cliff picture
becomes clear, it is hard to gauge what demand will look like
next year, although for the moment, sources expect it to be
"Demand next year will be fairly
flat. I think the U.S. economy will keep (chugging) along,
doing its thing," the second service center source said.
"Theres a lot of cautiousness out there."
"I just dont know how to
gauge (2013) right now. Id say modest growth," the first
service center source said.