Prices of US-made steel and aluminum have been rising since US President Donald Trump said he would impose tariffs on the two metals, and the price increases may reflect other factors, industry observers said.
Earlier this month, Trump pressed ahead with import tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent for steel. He exempted Canada and Mexico and suggested he might exclude other allies.
Joseph Innace, content director for America's Metals at S&P Global Platts, said the price of US-made hot-rolled steel coil, considered a bench mark bellwether product, was at $852 per short ton on Friday.
"The price was $630 per short ton on Jan 20, 2017, which is the day Trump was inaugurated," Innace said in an interview on Monday.
While the 35 percent increase was driven in part by the expectation of tariffs within the industry, Innace said the main driver has been the fundamental demand factors that affect steel prices.
"Prices were on the rise before the tariffs. Construction, energy and autos have been strong for over a year now," Innace said, noting that those industries push demand for steel in the US.
Aluminum prices in the US have been increasing since the beginning of the year, according to Karen McwBeth, content director of metals pricing for S&P Global Platts.
Since Jan 2, McBeth said aluminum prices have jumped from about 9.5 cents per pound to 20 cents a pound on Friday.