Steel Prices and Inventories, Hydrogen, Zinc, Katrina
U.S. steel inventories held by wholesale distributors, who are among the biggest buyers of the metal, fell in August to their lowest since May 2004 because of increasing demand

A lot of material was being snapped up as prices rose last year, causing the effect to be more pronounced than it “needed” to be. Now that inventory is being sold off.

In other news, Gerdau’s steel plant located near New Orleans hasn’t been restarted and no date has been set.

The hydrogen situation at Air Products (from press release):
Air Products announced today that portions of its New Orleans, La. industrial gas complex should begin operations within the coming months, with substantial operations anticipated by the end of the calendar year.

And Zinc prices went up for a while, then all talk of it died down. 1/4 of freely available ready to ship american zinc was under water in New Orleans. After a while, people calmed down and remembered that Zinc doesn’t rust (that’s it’s major use, in fact, as a rust-proofing agent). It doesn’t float, it’s so heavy that it’s unlikely to go far in flood waters, it might need to be reskidded but it won’t need much more work to be ready to ship again, so people calmed down a bit.

So after all the speculation, about the best we can say is that prices *may* go up, but we don’t know for how long or how much.

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