Workers at Shandong Iron & Steel Group in Jinan, China. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

The effects of the Trump administration’s move to finally back up tough talk on trade is already being felt, but not by who the president expected.

One measure of raw-material prices reached an almost seven-year high, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey, released Monday.

Though steep tariffs on steel and aluminum had yet to be implemented at the time of the survey, businesses began stocking up on the essential materials in response to the announcement.

“This is causing panic buying, driving the near-term prices higher,” Bloomberg quoted one survey respondent as saying.

Despite the price jump, the ISM’s main index showed factories continued to expand at a healthy pace in March, though growth was slightly down from the month before. “Underlying economic activity continues to build momentum,” Bloomberg Economics said, citing the ISM report.

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