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Cliffs shifts steel lead times to inquire only

The move comes after the company posted on 14 March hot rolled coil (HRC) lead times of 16 April, nearly five weeks out. Lead times for cold rolled coil (CRC) and hot dipped galvanized (HDG) coil has been listed at mid-May.

The lead time adjustment shows that the market has been tightening in recent weeks, as buyers come off of the sidelines in order to take advantage of the near-term bottom of prices. The Argus US HRC Midwest lead times have grown in the past month from 2-3 weeks on 15 February up to 5-6 weeks on 15 March.

The Argus US HRC Midwest ex-works assessment has risen by 27pc since 1 March to $1,300/st, as increased raw materials costs have allowed mills to set the near-term price floor and push prices higher.

The price for #1 busheling prime scrap in the US increased between $175-190/gross ton (gt) in the March trade that concluded last week. The Argus pig iron cfr New Orleans price rose by $195/metric tonne (t) to $895/t on 10 March.

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