US government shutdown spells trouble for infrastructure

Date: Jan 14, 2019

The US government shutdown and debate over a border wall with Mexico has forced metal market participants to re-evaluate their expectations of whether a long-anticipated infrastructure spending bill will come to pass over the next two years.

“It’s been wait-and-see for a while – looks like we are going to get a stalemate,” a US physical trader said. 

The partial government shutdown – which began on December 22 – centers on a potential wall along the southern border of the United States. President Donald Trump promised to build such a barrier during his 2016 campaign, and in January 2017 signed an executive order to start construction, and now has called for $5.7 billion to fund that project.

With the future of the border wall in question, metal market participants have voiced concerns about Trump’s promised infrastructure spending plan.

“I don’t see either side yielding to each other, but the executive branch has been creative in getting things done,” a second trader said. However, “Barring some unforeseen maneuvering,” that source said it’s unlikely the wall will be built.

“I am confused about the future with such [a] gridlock in Washington. How can anyone know what to expect to be accomplished?” a US-based supplier asked. “I do believe there will be some infrastructure [bill] passed, and can only hope we see some real improvement [in the] second quarter.”

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