A day after the Trump Administration announced tariffs against foreign imports of aluminum and steel aimed at helping U.S. producers of those materials, the VanEck Vectors Steel ETF (NYSEArca: SLX) and the broader SPDR Metals & Mining ETF (NYSEArca: XME) were mixed on Friday.
SLX tries to reflect the performance of the NYSE Arca Steel Index, which follows global companies involved in the steel industry. The global steel ETF includes a 37.2% tilt toward U.S. steel, along with 19.1% Brazil, 13.3% Netherlands and 11.1% U.K. However, since SLX includes more international than U.S. components, any tariffs could weigh on this ETF.
“After meeting with steel and aluminum executives at the White House on March 1, President Donald Trump announced that he’ll be enacting a 25% steel tariff and a 10% aluminum tariff next week,” said Morningstar. “It is unclear, however, if this approach will be applied in a blanket fashion to all countries or only to a targeted list of countries. This is a critical distinction, because we’d view a blanket approach as far more severe and, in turn, far more beneficial for the prospects of U.S. steel and aluminum producers.”
The U.S. Commerce Department has recommended curbs on steel and aluminum imports from China, which has been accused of dumping on the global markets, and other countries. Trump said he wants to place a 24% tariff on steel imports, the harshest outcome of three options presented to him, along with a 10% duty on all aluminum entering the U.S.
“Trade hawks, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and trade advisor Peter Navarro, have pushed for steep tariffs and quotas, while others, including Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn have supported a less heavy-handed approach,” according to Morningstar. “Steeper tariffs increase the risk of retaliation from trading partners as well as unintended negative effects on the profits of U.S. industries that are heavy steel consumers.”
Industrial metals like copper, nickel, iron and steel have all rebounded in recent months as traders bet on improving global economic conditions would bolster demand for the base metals after prices hit multi-year lows in 2016.
SLX and XME are up an average of almost 14% over the past year.
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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.