The Price of Steel

July 18, 1938

Report Outline
Steel in the Monoply Investigation
Price-Fixing in the Steel Industry
Financial and Technical Influences on Steel Prices
Supply Vs. Demand in the Steel Industry
Special Focus

Steel in the Monoply Investigation

The Temporary National Economic Committee to investigate monopoly, authorized at the recent session of Congress, will find its most important and most difficult subject in the iron and steel industry. The relative stability of steel prices during the last forty years has led to repeated charges of monopolistic practices. The leading steel companies have always denied the charges while maintaining that inflexible prices are made necessary by the nature of the industry.

Reductions of from 7 to 17 per cent in the prices charged by all of its subsidiary companies were announced by the United States Steel Corporation on June 24. On the same day President Roosevelt said in a radio address to the country: “Every encouragement should be given to industry which accepts a large volume and high wage policy.” He expressed particular gratification that the reduction in steel prices had not been accompanied by a cut in wages.

Representatives of U. S. Steel denied any commitment to maintain wages, but no move for reductions in wage rates has since been undertaken. Some commentators suggested that the price reductions were intended to forestall criticism by the monopoly committee, but it is more generally believed that they were made to meet competition from independent steel companies which were already selling below the published market quotations. In support of the latter view it has been pointed out that a number of the small companies were operating at a considerably higher percentage of capacity than the ratio figure for the industry as a whole.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Steel Industry
Mar. 05, 1982  Rebuilding the Nation's Steel Industry
Jul. 07, 1971  Steel Settlement
Jan. 06, 1965  Steel Wages and Prices
Dec. 27, 1962  Fortunes of the Steel Industry
Oct. 24, 1947  Steel Capacity
Sep. 02, 1944  Revision of the Little Steel Formula
Jul. 18, 1938  The Price of Steel
Aug. 19, 1933  The Steel Industry and Recovery
May 01, 1930  The Iron and Steel Industry
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies
Manufacturing and Industrial Production