Recently imposed U.S. tariffs are causing uncertainty among those involved in steel, says Lee Bressler.
Recently imposed tariffs on imported steel have left many, especially in the construction industry and within investment circles, guessing how much further prices will rise, and how climbing costs will affect them, their businesses, and their investments going forward.
“Everyone is closely monitoring currently volatile steel prices, yet it’s perhaps still too early to make an exact call on the extent of the effects of the tariffs,” suggests Lee Bressler in New York.
Within construction, it’s predicted that material costs will see significant price increases throughout 2018, compared to the previous year. “There’s no denying,” says Bressler, “that any price hikes will be likely due, at least to some degree, to the recently imposed tariffs.”
While Bressler is quick to point out that steel prices regularly fluctuate, irrespective of any tariffs, recent developments have certainly intensified matters.
From a construction standpoint, it may be some time before the true extent of the effects of the recently imposed tariffs become entirely apparent. “Construction company bosses, anticipating the tariffs, have ordered ahead to get around higher prices, at least in the short term,” Bressler explains.
The impending threat and eventual appearance of steel tariffs have also contributed to current long lead times, further affecting already increasing steel prices. “The very mention of steel tariffs,” says Bressler, “pushed many into almost ‘panic buying’ steel, causing a rush on U.S. orders for the product.”
This has indeed pushed up prices of both imported and domestic steel. “The cost of domestic steel is up, largely owing to high demand,” says Bressler.
Domestic steel, in fact, has seen one of its biggest month-to-month jumps in recent years in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With steel prices looking uncertain going forward, a rush on concrete seems entirely plausible according to those in the know, threatening to also drive increased prices in a generally remarkably steady concrete market.
This is largely speculative, however, and Bressler doesn’t anticipate rising steel prices slowing building activity, or promoting a major shift away from steel. “People across the U.S. and indeed globally are still investing heavily in new building construction, where steel remains a staple,” he adds.
“Ultimately, right now,” says Bressler, wrapping up, “it’s impossible to predict exactly how much steel prices will rise but it will certainly be interesting to see where things go from here.”