What impact will the Russia-Ukraine crisis have on steel prices?

The war in Ukraine is expected to affect a significant rise in steel prices as Russia is the third largest oil producer and the fifth largest steel producer in the world.  With the many sanctions being placed on Russia, there is likely to be a steel shortage in Europe which inevitably will lead to a rise in prices until alternative supply becomes available.

Whilst we have been hoping that emerging from the COVID pandemic, pricing would start to settle, it seems that this couldn’t be further from reality and that the challenge of price rises, and potential shortages could be here for the foreseeable future.

With many containment products being made of steel there is likely to be an impact on both supply and pricing.  To compound the challenges, the Asia to Europe Sea Freight routes, which were already under pressure, will now have to cope with even greater volumes.  This will inevitably increase the shipping costs, as fuel prices continue to climb, and lead to extended delays.

It is expected that these challenges could hit the UK very soon, so it would be very prudent to be adding in contingency into pricing materials for upcoming projects, especially those that require large volumes of cable management products.  Channel, cable tray, basket, ladder, trunking and conduit; products that have been subject to large increases throughout 2021, are highly likely to see more increases.  Whilst at this point it is not possible to predict the increases, we know it will be of great significance with the knowledge we have built up thus far.

The importance of creativity has never been more essential, and it would be well worthwhile looking at alternative products and installation methods that can reduce the time and cost of labour.  With the very real pressures on the labour market as wages increase, now is the time to look at more efficient methods.

Could you consider using the Zip wire system instead of threaded rodQuick-nuts provide a speedy alternative to the traditional square plate and channel nut approach.  Rather than installing multiple cable trays or basket trays could you consider using tray divider?  By switching conduit installs to ConLock, you can significantly reduce install times.  There are many innovative solutions today to help reduce labour time and therefore costs.  The team at Armafix would be very happy to discuss your specific requirements.

So, yes, the Russia-Ukraine crisis is certain to have an impact on steel prices and whilst we don’t know the extent of this impact, now is the time to start thinking creatively about how to mitigate this for your company.  These are unprecedented times, we all need to be vigilant and nimble.

This article was written by Terry Harmer, Managing Director at Armafix, who has several years of experience of supplying quality fixings and support solutions for the building services industry.

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