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SERVICE CENTER SHIPMENTS SHOW STRONG PERFORMANCE IN AUGUST

 CLEVELAND, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's $24 billion steel service center industry today reported that average daily shipments for August were stronger than expected, and have rebounded from a modest seasonal decline experienced in July, according to the latest Business Conditions Report of the Steel Service Center Institute (SSCI).
 In August, the average daily shipping rate increased 3.4 percent from July, due to reported gains in four of seven product categories. Average daily shipments of carbon flat rolled reflected the largest increase from July levels, up 8.4 percent, following a 6.7 percent decline during the previous month. Carbon bars and stainless steel products were up 2.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, followed by a 1.0 percent increase in carbon tubing. Products that registered declines in average daily shipments included carbon structurals (down 3.5 percent), carbon plate (down 2.7 percent) and alloys (down 0.7 percent).
 Total tons shipped in August increased about 8 percent over July, due in part to 22 shipping days -- one more than in July.
 "August was a stronger summer month than expected, and seems to support our member's growing level of optimism," said Gertrude Scott, SSCI acting president. "If shipping levels remain steady, third quarter results will be stronger than anticipated."
 Compared to August 1992, this month's average daily shipping rate for all products was up 10.8 percent, with all but one product category posting gains. Carbon tubing and flat rolled recorded the most significant increases of 18.2 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively, while only carbon structurals dropped a slight 1.0 percent.
 For the year-to-date (eight months), the service center average daily shipping rate is running 9.5 percent ahead of last year's pace.
 A monthly opinion survey of service center executives taken in early September continues to reveal a growing level of optimism toward general economic activity and incoming orders well into the fourth quarter. This outlook is now shared by a fair number of respondents from the Steel Committee of the National Association of Purchasing Managers (NAPM). A month ago, service center optimism was in stark contrast to opinions shown in the NAPM survey.
 "It would appear that current shipping levels and forecasts for the fourth quarter have both service center executives and purchasing managers hoping for the best," said Scott.
 Total inventories rose by 134,000 tons in August to reach 6,353,587 tons, and are expected to remain steady throughout 1993. August's inventory-to-shipments ratio for all products dropped to 3.04 months of supply, compared to 3.23 months of supply in July -- its highest level in 1993. One year ago, the inventory-to-shipments ratio stood at 3.26 months of supply.
 The Steel Service Center Institute is a trade association representing the interests of the steel service center industry. America's steel service centers purchase and distribute about 30 percent of all carbon industrial steel products and nearly 45 percent of all stainless steel produced in the United States.
 Steel service centers are the largest-single customer group of the domestic steel industry and serve the metal supply needs of more than 300,000 manufacturers and fabricators through plant locations nationwide. Because SSCI reports the scope and level of business activity as it relates to a wide cross section of industrial America, its Business Conditions Report is considered an excellent barometer for the state of the economy.
 August Total Average Daily Shipping Rate
 Up 3.4 percent compared to July, 1993.
 Up 10.8 percent compared to August, 1992.
 Up 9.5 percent year-to-date (8 months).
 August Total Ending Inventory
 August, 1993: 3.04 months' supply.
 July, 1993: 3.23 months' supply.
 August, 1992: 3.26 months' supply.
 -0- 9/22/93
 /CONTACT: Mark Willis of Watt, Roop & Co., 216-566-7019, for the Steel Service Center Institute/


CO: Steel Service Center Institute ST: Ohio IN: MNG SU:

AR -- CL002 -- 4506 09/22/93 08:00 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1993
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