NEW YORK Copper and brass service center sources say lead times remain short in the United States due to slow spot business activity amid some oversupply.
Lead times from mills to service centers for medium-gauge products remain at one to six weeks, while light-gauge products such as copper sheet and coil have lead times of between three and eight weeks (amm.com, June 18).
"In general, I dont think lead times will lengthen yet," a service center source said, adding that there is no good answer for why lead times are so short. "Business has been slow," he said.
Sources cited the typical summertime sluggishness and customer speculation about where the market will stand as reasons for the slowdown in orders.
"It appears supply is ahead of core demand," a source said, noting that some customers, worried about staying covered in case demand grows from recent gains in the auto and housing sectors, ordered a lot of product early on in an attempt to avoid any volatility. "They doubled ordering ... they got overly zealous," he said.
Lead times for products such as rod and bar are at the high end of the one- to six-week range, which is longer than usual, service center sources said.
Bar may be taking longer than usual because some of the supplying mills are busier, a source at a copper and copper alloy distributor and manufacturer said. He did not know the reason behind the uptick at the mills.