An unrelenting rise in the cost of raw materials -- largely driven
by mounting demand from Asia -- is cutting corporate profits, hitting stocks and, in some cases, pushing up consumer
One glaring example is the sky-rocketing cost of rubber
, a major tire component
, which has climbed nearly 74% this year after rising 92% in 2009. Industry analysts and some tire makers, including Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., in Akron, Ohio, and Bridgestone Corp., in Tokyo, have warned investors about a potential
hit to profits.
橡胶价格的巨幅飙升是一个引人注目的例子。橡胶是轮胎的主要成分，其价格在2009年上涨92%的基础上今年又上涨近74%。行业分析师及美国固特异公司(Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.)和日本普利司通轮胎公司(Bridgestone Co.)等轮胎制造商已警告投资者其利润有可能下滑。
A similar concern faces firms that buy other rapidly rising raw materials. Palladium, which goes into car exhaust
systems, is up nearly 39% this year, potential
ly boosting costs for U.S. car makers as they seek to emerge
from their slump.
Lumber, a major cost for home builders, is up nearly 59%. Analysts at Raymond James lowered their ratings on three home builders last week, in part citing 'surging lumber
Iron-ore prices also are rising, while oil and copper
have tacked on to last year's huge gains.
Data on producer
prices released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday shows how rapidly the pressure
on corporate America is mounting. The producer
-price index showed that crude goods such as iron ore, construction
sand and pulp shot up 44.5% year-over-year, the fastest rate since 1974. Including energy
and food costs, crude goods prices rose 33.4%.
美国劳工统计局(Bureau of Labor Statistics)周四公布的生产者价格数据显示了美国公司所承受的压力正快速增长。生产者价格指数显示，铁矿石、建筑用沙和纸浆等原材料价格同比上涨44.5%，是自1974年以来的最大涨幅。包括能源和食品在内，原材料价格上涨33.4%。
of the higher costs is being disproportionately felt by developed countries with struggling economies and lower growth prospects.
Emerging-market countries, which are fueling the rising demand, can better absorb
price increases because they are expanding faster.
In many ways, it is a reflection
of the changing power toward emerging economies and away from developed nations like the U.S. and Europe.
Rubber's rally is driven
by booming demand in China, where car sales rose 56% in March compared to a year prior, according to IHS Global Insight, as well as elsewhere
in Asia. The moribund U.S. car market also shows signs of recovery
, though sales are still down sharply
from their peaks before the financialcrisis
中国及亚洲其它地区需求的快速增长推动了橡胶价格的上涨。美国环球通视有限公司(IHS Global Insight)数据显示，3月份，中国汽车销售同比增长56%。低迷的美国汽车市场也显示出复苏的迹象，但汽车销售大大低于金融危机前的峰值。
Supplies of rubber
also are tight, largely due to wet winter weather in major rubber
-producing nations in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. If improving conditions lead to greater supplies, rubber
prices could drop later in the year.
Tire makers, meanwhile
, are still reeling from the sharp drop in sales that began as the economy
weakened in the financialcrisis
. Tire shipments in the U.S. plummeted 21.1% from 2007 to 2009, according to Modern Tire Dealer, a trade publication.
与此同时，轮胎制造商仍举步维艰。由于金融危机导致经济低迷，轮胎销售开始大幅下滑。贸易期刊Modern Tire Dealer的数据显示， 2009年，美国轮胎发货量与2007年相比减少21.1%。
prices also may be acting
as a drag on share prices. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 6.8% this year, Bridgestone's shares are down 5% and Goodyear's are up 2.8%.
大宗商品价格上涨也有可能拖累股价下跌。尽管今年道琼斯工业平均指数(Dow Jones Industrial Average)上涨6.8%，但普利司通公司的股票下跌5%，固特异公司上涨2.8%。