Home Improvement May See Helpful Hikes from Harvey; Others Mostly Hurt

by | Aug 28, 2017

Home improvement stores in Texas’s storm zone may actually benefit from Hurricane Harvey. Though as many as 56 Home Depot and Lowe’s stores in southeast Texas were closed as of Sunday amid widespread flooding, those chains are likely well-prepped for the disaster, having ensured they would have plenty of building materials on hand days before the storm hit, writes CNBC. Both companies said they have frozen prices on materials like lumber and roofing in the affected areas but sales are expected to soar once the storm backs off. Shares of both home improvement retailers rose today as they are expected to benefit from sales of wood and other housing materials when the storm begins to abate.

Retailers may, in fact, be the only businesses to benefit from the storm. Key areas of the country’s supply chain are being affected, with ports, railways and motorways closed or clogged. The Houston Shipping Channel, one of the key transportation routes in the area, has been closed since Friday. As of yesterday, it was still unclear how the supply chain interruptions will affect manufacturers that depend on shipping from that area, according to the article.

Auto Industry on Alert

Auto manufacturing may be one area that will be particularly affected, as the industry depends on goods flowing to and from northern Mexico, according to The National. But Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said on Sunday that so far, they had not seen any impact or issues with getting parts through the area.

On the other hand, Texas is a significant market for auto sales, particularly for pickup trucks from Detroit’s big three. The storm is expected to hamper operations to some extent, and could impact sales. And there will be “thousands of light vehicles that will need replacing,” according to Nick Colas, an independent analyst based in New York City.

Gas Prices to Pop

Speaking of vehicles, companies that run their own fleets can expect to be affected by gas price spikes. Flooding caused by Harvey has forced some of the country’s largest refineries to shut down, including some owned by Exxon Mobil, Shell, Phillips 66 and Petrobras – this means that more than a tenth of the nation’s refining capacity is out of commission for the moment, according to the Dallas News.

Gas prices are expected to jump by as much as 25 cents per gallon along the coast, and perhaps by as much as 15 cents in other areas. And there’s “a huge danger that the numbers could change in a moment’s notice,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

How Much More Rain? Well…a Lot

Houston averages 50 inches of rainfall a year. The city was nailed with 25 inches of rain in two days and can expect another 25 inches by the end of the week. Several other areas of the state were also plastered with more than two feet of rain and forecasters say isolated areas along the upper Texas coast could see as much as 50 additional inches by the end of the week, according to CNN.

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