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Stainless Prices Remain High, as Hot-Rolled Prices Slip

Friday, December 08, 2006
An Associated Press article blames high import levels from China and Russia, slashed production by automakers and a housing-market slowdown for bulging inventories at steel wholesalers and service centers. The result, it says, was an average spot market price for hot-rolled steel sheet of around $565 per ton in November, a drop of around 6 percent from October prices. Inventory levels are at 3.6 months. Some steelmakers—Arcelor Mittal USA and U.S. Steel to name two—have cut production as a result of the high inventories, either by taking prolonged maintenance outages or by idling furnaces altogether. Steel analyst Michelle Applebaum, quoted in the article, expects the inventory issue to be resolved by February. Meanwhile, stainless-steel sheet prices, already at near-record high levels, may move even higher by January, due to skyrocketing nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange in October and November, according to MEPS Intl. However, thinking a bit longer term, MEPS expects nickel consumption as well as prices to decline through the first quarter of 2007, and sheet prices for stainless steel to trend downward as well.

Lincoln Opens Distribution, Training Center in Atlanta

Friday, December 08, 2006
The Lincoln Electric Co., Cleveland, OH, a manufacturer of arc-welding equipment, has opened a regional distribution and training center in Atlanta, GA. The 100,000-sq.-ft. facility combines sales, distribution, training and demonstration functions all under one roof. Customers can select their equipment, learn how to use it and have it delivered all from the same facility. Learn more at

Automotive Slump Dragging Down Robot Orders

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Through the first nine months of 2006, new orders received by North American-based robotics companies were off 36 percent compared to year-earlier orders, although non-automotive orders were off only 3 percent, according to the Robotic Industries Association, Ann Arbor, MI. Orders from the automotive sector were down 49 percent. Material handling accounts for the largest share, 41 percent, of robot applications, followed closely by welding, 39 percent.


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