Lead Times Inflate Unevenly Through February

The Commodity IQ Lead Time Index for all components tracked by Supplyframe rose to its highest level month-over-month in February, revealing increased supply chain pressure for buyers of certain devices.

The lead time index surged by 11% sequentially in February, rising above the baseline signaling expansion. This increase represented the largest month-to-month growth since December 2019. The index moved above the baseline level for the first time in six months, indicating the increase could presage increases in pricing.

Supply Chains Face Rising Pressure

The rise in lead times was broad-based, with 65% of commodities showing monthly increases. Yet, much of the recovery was uneven, with some passive device lead times inflating on reduced capacity utilization (including resistors) and semiconductor lead times mostly expanding from continuous declines.

News of the rising delivery lags comes amid broader signs that conditions are becoming more challenging for buyers throughout the economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) rose above the baseline in February, reaching a level of 0.10.

This number marked the first positive reading for the GSCPI since November 2023. The positive reading of the GSCPI indicates that supply chains are under rising pressure.

Long-Term Agreements Could Protect Pricing

Despite the decline in lead times, inventories of electronic components continued to fall in February, the fourth consecutive month-on-month decline. Inventory levels are indeed moving downward, but depletion is uneven by geography, supplier, and end market.

Most passive and interconnect component commodity inventories fell in two of the last four months, with capacitor, resistor, transformer, and inductor inventories declining sequentially for the last four months.

Under these circumstances, buyers should consider long-term agreements to lock in current pricing for various electronic components.

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