Steel: Backlog of Decisions

While mills ran near to capacity last week, steel was being poured at its highest level in five years: 2,700,000 tons. Yet the record was clouded by the continued stockpiling of steel by customers who fear a strike in May, when the industry's contract with the United Steelworkers expires.

Users are now stockpiling at the rate of 1,000,000 tons a month, a rate that would give them 9,000,000 tons on hand at the strike deadline. Though that is well below the 12 million tons on hand when the 1959 strike broke out, it is enough to curtail steel demand...

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