Fed survey finds worries about higher tariffs

The Federal Reserve’s latest national survey has found that U.S. businesses are growing increasingly concerned about the impact higher tariffs could have on their companies and the overall economy.

The Fed reported Wednesday that the economic outlook remains positive with growth continuing at a moderate pace in the central bank’s 12 regions.

But its latest survey of economic conditions around the country also found that various industries — from manufacturing to farming and transportation — are worried about possible penalty tariffs on China and those already slapped on imports of steel and aluminum.

The report cites widespread reports that steel prices were already rising, “sometimes dramatically.”

The report, known as the beige book, will be considered by Fed officials when they next meet on May 1-2 to discuss interest rates.

In addition to higher prices for steel, the beige book found that prices were also rising “briskly” for building materials, especially lumber, drywall and concrete. The report said that the Fed’s business contacts generally expect further price increases in the months ahead, particularly for steel and building materials.