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Why Metal Stamping Buyers Are Carefully Watching Steel Prices

Posted by Tim Lynch | 9/26/18 3:07 PM

US Steel prices are currently the highest in the world. That’s certainly motivation for buyers and manufacturers of metal stamping components to consider their options.

The price of steel has increased steadily during the first half of the year due to increased demand and buyer concerns related to government interventions.  Although steel prices seem to be leveling off some wonder how long it will last, and how long existing tariffs will stay in place.  In a recent The Fabricator article, John Packard of Steel Market Update states,  “Some sources say it’s a “no-brainer” to consider foreign offers today. Others consider the tenuous trade situation in Washington to be too unpredictable.”  

If you use precision metal stamped components it’s critical to continually seek out a competitive advantage, which may make today’s imported steel prices look attractive.  It’s especially difficult to ignore the opportunity when non-domestic suppliers tout that they can incur the cost of shipping and tariffs while remaining competitive.

However, most experts agree that an increase in offshore supply would likely motivate U.S. steel manufacturers to reduce prices - making international orders that you place today not as attractive when they arrive a few months down the road.  Others wonder how long the current administration can maintain tariffs with our closest trading partners like Canada and Mexico. And of course, you need to consider how current NAFTA negotiation may impact long-term ‘free trade’ regulations.

Perhaps the best advice is to keep a close eye on pricing, government policy, and know who you’re buying from.  If not orchestrated correctly, the incentive of low foreign steel prices can be offset by lead times and quality issues.  With steel experts debating the pros and cons of US versus import acquisition it’s a good time to proceed with caution.

If you’re interesting in factors that affect the cost of precision metal stamping you’ll want to read TOP 10 OEM Demands and Decision Points for Selecting Precision Metal Stampers an eBook based on the responses of Kenmode Precision Metal Stamping clients in recent surveys, as well as on independent sources that track industry trends.

Topics: Pricing