U.S. Business: Steel: Hardening

Despite soft prices and profits, the long-distressed steel industry shows signs of firming. Production has increased steadily since the week of July 4, approached 1,600,000 tons last week. In only three weeks' time, production as a percentage of estimated capacity advanced from 45% to last week's 52%. Looking at their rising orders, steelmen predict still further increases.

With consumption of finished steel also increasing in recent months, the heavy inventories accumulated last winter as a steel-strike hedge are being rapidly whittled away. Detroit automakers, confident of a good year for the 1963 models,...

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