This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel Execs Wary of Potential Mexico Tariffs

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This morning in metals news, U.S. steel executives are concerned about the impact of proposed tariffs on Mexican goods, bidders are looking at the liquidated British Steel in parts and Norsk Hydro released its Q1 2019 financial results.
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U.S. Steel Executives Express Concern About Mexico Tariffs Impact

Recently, President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico; according to Bloomberg, executives of the biggest U.S. steel companies aren’t too keen on the proposed duties, particularly as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) still hangs in the balance.
According to the report, executives from AK Steel, Nucor and Steel Dynamics spoke at an industry conference Tuesday, expressing concerns regarding the potential tariffs’ impact on the USMCA talks carrying on among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
“Our reaction was surprise,” Nucor CEO John Ferriola was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “We hope it does not impact the USMCA — we think that’s a good thing for the steel industry and manufacturing in general in the U.S. and the economy as a whole.”

Piece by Piece

After the U.K.’s second-largest steelmaker, British Steel, was ordered liquidated last month, the race has been on to save the company from the brink.
With a deadline fast approaching, bidders have been making offers for the firm; however, they’ve been doing so in parts.
According to Reuters, none of the bidders are interested in buying the entirety of British Steel due to the capital expenditures that would be required.

Norsk Hydro Releases Q1 Financials

The first quarter of 2019 was a challenging one for Norsk Hydro, as the firm dealt with a cyber attack and the ongoing ramifications of production curtailment at its Alunorte refinery (where it recently got the green light from Brazilian authorities to resume full production).
“I am pleased that the production embargoes at Alunorte have been lifted, so that we can focus our efforts on safely returning Alunorte, Paragominas and Albras towards normal operations,” President and CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim said in a company release. “Our Brazilian operations are a fundament for Hydro’s overall agenda and our ambition to lift profitability.”
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Hydro reported underlying earnings before financial items and tax of NOK 559 million (USD $64.0 million) in Q1 2019, down from NOK 3,147 million (USD $360.7 million) in Q1 2018, due to lower aluminum prices, higher raw material costs and the production curtailment at Alunorte.

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