Steel pricing stabilizes

A firming trend is indicated in the steel market, Iron Age magazine reports. A definite sign in this regard was the announcement by National Steel Corporation that it will increase prices of sheet grades by 5 percent on April 1 .

It remains to be seen how the price move will be received in the market and in Washington.

Whatever happens, the magazine notes, it is significant that a price test should be attempted at this time. The sheet market has been the weakest in the steel picture. There was widespread discounting of sheet prices in December and an attempt to raise these prices in Jan. 1 was not supported.

Now it appears demand has improved for another attempt. This attempt bears out reports of a dramatic improvement in demand for steel.

From a low of 6.7 million tons in December 1979, steel shipments will rise to about 8 million tons in March.

The upturn is due to three causes. First, steel users have ended their inventory cutting. Second, the capital goods market remains strong. Third, demand for steel by automobile companies has stabilized.

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