This Morning in Metals: Trump Hits Solar Panels, Washing Machines with Tariffs

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This morning in metals news, President Trump slaps import tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, year-to-date domestic raw steel production is down 3.2%, and copper prices continue to rise.

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Trump Adds Solar Panels, Washing Machines to Tariff Mix

President Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on solar panels will see investment in the technology shift from the U.S. to Asia, Reuters reported.

The president imposed 30% tariffs that will drop to 15% in four years, according to the report.

In addition, according to the Washington Post, the first 1.2 million washing machines imported each year will face a 20% tariff, with additional imports facing a 50% tax.

The tariff action marks the first major trade action by Trump this year. With North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation talks in progress (with the sixth and final round kicking off today in Montreal) and Section 232 cases on steel and aluminum imports pending, it almost certainly won’t be the last.

Domestic Raw Steel Production Drops

In the week ending Jan. 20, domestic raw steel production was 1,693,000 net tons, down from the 1,736,000 net tons produced in the week ending Jan. 20, 2017, according to American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) weekly data. 

Meanwhile, adjusted year-to-date production through Jan. 20, 2018 was 4,803,000 net tons, down 3.2% from the 4,960,000 net tons during the same period last year.

Copper Builds as Dollar Struggles

Copper, which sees its performance inversely correlated with that of the U.S. dollar, rose despite record Chinese production, Reuters reported.

MetalMiner’s Annual Outlook provides 2018 buying strategies for carbon steel

On the LME, three-month copper hit $7,090 per ton as of 0153 GMT.

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