The most recent business conditions surveys of the Steel Tube Institute of North America suggest the events of September 11 delivered an unexpected and additional blow to shipment volume that already has been trending downward for nearly a year or more. From mid-September on, OEMs and service centers decreased or curtailed orders from tubular products, further reducing inventories. Indicators show most customer inventories are in balance or critically low levels and that spot inventory builds may be the norm for the balance of the year. In relation to August shipment totals, mechanical tube dropped by 8 to 10 percent, hollow structural sections (HSS) dropped 13 to 15 percent and stainless tubular products dropped 14 to 16 percent. Standard pipe in product sizes of four inch and under registered a positive increase of 2 to 4 percent.