Bethlehem sets 3% rise in prices for sheet steel

MARYLAND WATCH

January 06, 1996

Bethlehem Steel Corp. said yesterday that it will raise the price of sheet steel made at its Sparrows Point mill in Baltimore County by 3 percent on March 31.

The increase comes two days after USX-U.S. Steel Group, the nation's largest steelmaker, and LTV Corp. raised their prices by 3 percent, and a day after AK Steel Holding Corp. and Inland Steel Industries Inc. also raised prices. National Steel Corp. announced a similar increase yesterday.

Bethlehem Steel, the nation's second-largest steelmaker, raised prices for carbon and high-strength, low-alloy sheared plate $20 a ton, and strip mill plates $15 a ton. Hot-rolled sheet is $15 more per ton, and cold-rolled and coated sheets are $20 more per ton. The steel is used for construction, machinery, appliances and automobiles.

Last year, Bethlehem Steel raised its prices three times. The demand may be strong now, but analysts are predicting a slowdown this year.

"It's reasonable to ask for a price increase," said Donald L. Wampach, an analyst for Duff & Phelps Investment Research. "Will it stick? It remains to be seen."

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