2
Sep

Harvey's economic ripple effect could be felt in grocery aisle, building materials – WLWT Cincinnati

There is already an oversupply of buzz about the higher prices at the pump in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Economic experts who keep a close track of such things believe the construction and building industry will likely be next.

The economic ripple effects of the Texas flooding could hit meat, chicken and maybe even your holiday turkey.

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No sense beefing about it. Economists expect food prices to climb along with building materials, shingles, siding and lumber for a six- to 10-month period.

Consumers like Rachel Wilkinson of Liberty Township and Linda Ludy of Sharonville expect prices to go up, but hope they don’t go up too much.

Texas is cattle country. Meat prices are expected to go higher once the water goes lower.

Coffee could also be impacted because flooding put the stockpiles in jeopardy.

“I hope it’s not because the people are gouging,” said Ludy. “I just hope they’re just trying to get the supplies back in.”

Supplies are the lifeblood of family-run businesses like Mueller Distributors in Lockland.
The company does roofing, siding and windows. It’s been operating since 1875.

Scott Fritsch, the company president, told us he’s already trying to stay ahead of a 25 percent increase in the prices of OSB products and plywood.

He recalled the supply shortage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans 12 years ago.

If you’re in need of a new roof right now, Fritsch said you shouldn’t have trouble finding materials.

He passed on this bit of guidance.

“If it’s not leaking, I don’t think you should be rushed into a need of getting that replaced,” he said. “You could probably wait until the spring and you’d be just fine.”

NKU economic analyst Janet Harrah anticipates a temporary spike in the grocery aisles — higher costs for agricultural goods like rice, for instance.

“Anything that is shipped,” she said. “Food, clothing, building materials, they have transportation costs, but it’s a short-term phenomenon.”

Cleanup and demolition will occupy the first couple of months in Houston.

After that is when our local area would experience the spike.

Some are already preparing themselves to take it in stride. “I don’t think any of us would be necessarily happy about it,” observed Wilkinson. “But I think I understand why it happens.

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