Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Firms 'at risk' from steel prices

A businessman says small manufacturing firms in the Black Country are at risk because of the soaring cost of steel.

Robert Marshall, who runs J H Marshall Pressings, said the Wolverhampton firm and its competitors were having to pass the cost on to customers.

He said it meant customers of his and other metal component firms were buying abroad and would continue to do if the cost of steel kept rising.

The demand for steel and its production cost are contributing to the increases.

Mr Marshall said: "One by one these customers are feeling the pinch and saying look we like doing business with you but we are finding it easier or cheaper to get stuff from abroad."

The global market for steel has been growing, with especially strong demand from developing countries such as China as they embark on large industrial and building projects.

The rising cost of transport, fuel and raw materials has also hit production costs.


Most steel users are supplied by stockholders and service centres rather than by the steel manufacturers. They themselves are being "between a rock and a hard place". The steel producers are taking a strong line on steel prices and the end users are trying to resist as far as possible. Whilst steel has risen globally the cost of components manufactured outside of the west can be even more attractive to buyers, putting many European and American manufacturers at risk. 

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