Business Forward’s Latest Steel Index: U.S. manufacturers paying 25% more than foreign competitors

Business Forward, Inc. published its latest American Steel Index report today. The monthly report compares the prices American manufacturers and their foreign competitors pay for hot- and cold-rolled steel. Key charts are below. Click here to read the report.

Yesterday, Business Forward held a conference call with Kristin Dziczek, Vice President of the Center for Automotive Research. She discussed the effect of increased steel prices on the auto industry and broader economy. Download a podcast of that call here.

The index helps demonstrates three important points about today’s steel tariffs. First, buyers in the U.S. are paying higher prices, while prices in competing markets are falling. Second, the resulting price difference has a disproportionate impact on manufacturers in competitive markets (where margins are thin). And third, comparatively higher steel prices are having a disproportionate impact on manufacturers that export, and those manufacturers are the ones America needs most.

Since President Trump announced his plans for steel and aluminum tariffs in February, prices in the U.S. for hot- and cold-rolled steel have risen 23.9 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively. During that same time, prices in the UK, Italy, China, Germany and Japan are down 3.4 and 4.1 percent, respectively. As a result, U.S. manufacturers are paying 24 percent more for hot- and cold-rolled steel, on average.

The dollar difference between steel prices in the U.S. and in competing markets has more than doubled since February (2.2 times larger).