STeel shipment pickup seen

Steel shipments will be up by as much as 1 million tons in September, according to iron Age magazine. After running below 5.5 million tons in July and August, shipments will rise to as high as 6.5 million tons in September. The increase will end the steady decline that started in April.

Shipments will have to climb considerably above the September level before a real steel recovery is at hand. There is no assurance there will be a further rise, but recent returns have been encouraging. Order rates have risen about 20 percent in the last few weeks. On the basis of advance bookings, September is running ahead of August by the same margin.

There is one possible flaw in this picture. The price discounts now in effect for sheet and bar products can be withdrawn at the end of September. Steel users could be placing extra orders as a hedge against the higher prices that would result from the end of discounting.

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