PRICES: Steel Tries Again

Steel is used in so many products, from locomotives to paper clips, that almost any increase in its price becomes an economic and political gamble: Will the market take it? And will the White House hold still? Last week six big steel companies decided to run the risk. They announced increases of 6%, to take effect this week, on flat-rolled products, which go into autos and appliances and consume almost 40% of industry shipments. Their move brought hand-wringing from the outgoing Ford Administration and raised an immediate economic question of whether the increase would stick.

An earlier one did not. Last...

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