Home appliances manufacturer Whirlpool, which previously praised President Trump’s tariffs on imported washing machines as “without any doubt a positive catalyst,” has cut its profit forecast after the president’s tariffs on steel and aluminum sent raw material prices skyrocketing, raising their costs by $350 million.
“The global steel costs have risen substantially, and in particular, in the U.S., they have reached unexplainable levels,” Whirpool CEO Marc Bitzer told analysts on a conference call, according to CNNMoney.
Steel prices in the U.S. are currently 60% higher than the rest of the world, Bitzer told analysts on Tuesday.
Bitzer added that “uncertainty” around additional tariffs and global trade has disrupted the company’s supply chain.
Whirlpool cut its profit outlook for 2018 partly because of a “challenging cost environment,” an announcement that sent the company’s stock plunging by more than 10 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday.
Whirlpool and rivals, such as LG and Samsung, have increased prices on washing machines since the tariffs went into effect. That led some people to pass up a new purchase. Washing machine prices in June were up close to 20% from a year prior, according to the Labor Department.
Whirlpool’s sales in the United States fell 2.2% last quarter due to “very slow market demand,” Bitzer said. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company’s second largest market, sales tumbled 12%.
The company hinted that it planned to continue raising prices to offset raw material inflation, which means that consumers holding out for a cheaper dryer might have to wait a while.
In January, Bitzer praised Trump’s announced tariffs on imported washing machines as “without any doubt, a positive catalyst for Whirlpool.”