Steel watchers say 232 part of second-quarter success

Posted on 06 July 2018

Source: Kallanish

US steel producers look set to announce blockbuster second-quarter earnings, Kallanish learns from recently released mill guidance.

Market observers say that's due to a variety of factors - including knock-on effects from President Donald Trump's 232 tariffs.

Both Nucor and Steel Dynamics Inc have said that they expect earnings to roughly double year-on-year in Q2.

That comes as no surprise to buyers who keep track of raw material prices, says one service centre source. "Raw materials barely went up while pricing dramatically increased, due to supply and demand caused by the 232s," he says.

A second service centre source also credited the 232s with expected strong earnings from ArcelorMittal, North Star Bluescope Steel, and NLMK. "They think the 232 is the reason they are strong," he says. "One mentioned that they are positioning their order book in case the 232 is modified."

At least one observer, however, believes that the 232s have had no direct effect on mill earnings. For the most part, he says, the 232 has had more of a chilling effect than a direct import blockage effect.

"Business conditions have been fairly solid for the last three quarters, with mill backlogs running strong," he says. "The tariffs have had no effect at all."


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