NEW YORK Lead times for
certain copper flat-rolled products could tighten in the coming
weeks as service centers have told AMM that orders
have dampened after an uptick earlier this year.
The wait for medium-gauge copper
products is between four and six weeks, but this will likely
come in, service center sources said.
"We all saw Januarys
activity pick up, and we were hoping that would carry on. But
were seeing a bit of a retreat from that pace," one
service center source told AMM. "Id say
were not at Januarys pace now. Its slowed up
He attributed the slowdown to a
falloff in demand from the appliances, connectors and
"I think lead times are going to
get a little shorter (from six weeks)," a second service center
source agreed. "Not by much, though."
A third service center source
confirmed the four- to six-week range.
Lead times for light-gauge
copper products remain three months out in some cases,
"Its a bit of a mixed bag.
For light-gauge flat-rolled, orders are placed for June.
Thats way out," the first service center source said.
A fourth service center source
confirmed this trend, adding that he expects lead times for
light-gauge material to stay out on the back of continued
strong demand from automotive, ammunition and electrical
distribution end markets.
"One of the major mills has
moved their lead times out by two weeks, and we expect other
domestic mills to do the same," the fourth service center
source said, pegging lead times for these products at nine
weeks at least.
Booming gun and ammunition sales
have given brass mills a welcome boost since the start of the
amm.com, Feb. 6), and this trend has continued
into March, the fourth service center source said.
"Ive heard from both of
the big mills that ammunition has really taken off, and our
customers in ammunition have gone crazy," the fourth service
center source said. Electrical distribution and automotive
markets are also solid, two other important end-markets for
light gauge material, the source added.
"Electrical distribution is
still busy, and we expect that will be the case going into
summer because of the devastation of the storms and weather.
Theres still a lot of rebuilding effort throughout the
whole eastern seaboard. And then automotive has stayed strong,"
the fourth service center source said.
Most copper mills are hesitant
to add staff to meet this increased demand, which will keep
lead times out, the source added.
"Mills are often reluctant to
add a bunch of personnel, because then we enter into the summer
months when there are shutdownsauto manufacturers
maintenance always happens in the first two weeks of July. By
the time the mills get everyone trained and up and running,
theyll have to fire them. So theyll work though it
the best way they can, which is (pushing out) lead times," the
fourth service center source said.