With so many industries playing a key role in manufacturing, it is important to stay up-to-date with the various factors that can affect supply and demand, and our customers’ projects. As we kickoff 2018, we decided to immerse ourselves in some of the upcoming forecasts for the year ahead. Below you will find three key trends that we see for the various industries we operate in, including rail, construction, agriculture and more.

1. General Optimism
The outlook looks positive across a number of different trades.

As the global population continues to rise, the agricultural industry continues to see an uptick in both demand and production. One of the causes of the hike in demand is the increased exportation of equipment to countries such as South Africa and Brazil, especially as Canada continues to represent a large volume of the U.S. export market (trade.gov).

In addition to this, lower unemployment rates and wage increases are supporting the rise in new home builds for the construction industry. With this, we expect to see a growth in equipment sales, leading to improved equipment manufacturing.

After a tough three to four years, there seems to be a change in outlook for the oil and gas industry in 2018. According to Forbes, the midstream oil and gas industry in the U.S. will boom in the upcoming months. And, with the ability to quickly onboard fracking, we expect the barrel of oil to sit between $55-65 per barrel throughout 2018. National Tube Supply’s Baytown, Texas plant is already seeing a number of new manufacturing projects.

2. Increased Commodity Prices
As global demand for commodities continues to rise, prices are forecasted to continue increasing as well. This brings a positive outlook for industries related to mining and drilling, such as water exploration, oil and gas, and precious metals like gold, silver and iron ore.

3. Natural and Political Impacts
External, sometimes unexpected, natural and political impacts play a big role in many industries. In 2017, hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused major impacts on industries in the U.S and we will continue to see these impacts well into 2018. For example, the hurricanes will increase operations in the rail industry for the first half of the year due to transportation of goods for recovery and the rebuild of affected areas. However, the build of new rail cars is expected to remain flat throughout 2018.

Also, in the steel industry, the recent developments in the Cold Drawn Trade Case will impact foreign product coming from Italy, China and Germany. Overall, steel prices rose throughout much of 2017 and this is expected to continue, especially in the first half of 2018.

In conclusion, 2018 looks positive for the majority of manufacturing trades. As a service company to all of the above industries, we are looking forward to going the extra mile to help our customers in various industries achieve their goals in 2018. This has been our New Year’s resolution for the past 27 years, and something we look forward to continuing for the years to come.

What trends are you seeing in your industry for 2018? We would love to hear from you.