Tariffs and High Steel Prices Concern Metalformers

Written by Sandy Williams

Metalforming companies are expecting a decline in business conditions due to high steel prices and tariffs, according the latest survey by the Precision Metalforming Association. In a sample of 109 metalforming companies in the U.S. and Canada in June, 23 percent of members said they expect a decline in economic activity during the next three months compared to 4.0 percent in May. Metalformers are also expecting incoming orders to decrease during the next three months.

“The 19 percent jump in those metalforming manufacturers who anticipate a decline in activity is related to the 25 percent tariffs imposed on steel imports,” said Roy Hardy, PMA president. “Reports from PMA member companies show that all steel prices have increased, in some cases by more than 50 percent, and delivery times are going from days to weeks and even months. The United States is becoming an island of high steel prices, which will result in metalforming manufacturers losing business to overseas competitors who can buy steel at global (i.e. lower) prices. Tariffs are taxes, and if these tariffs continue, any benefit gained from tax cuts and regulatory reform will be wiped out.”

Shipping levels in June rose and, with 54 percent of participants reporting, levels are higher than three months ago.

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 4 percent in June, compared with none in May. At this time last year, 2 percent of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

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