ST. LOUIS, MO — Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff announcement Thursday caught investors off guard and raised fears about a tit-for-tat retaliation from China and other major US trading partners.
Trump said his administration would impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum. It was not immediately clear whether some countries would be excluded from the tariffs. Top American trading partners, including Canada, Germany, the European Union and Australia, all slammed the decision.
Costs could soar for American companies that rely heavily on aluminum and steel produced overseas, such as auto and plane manufacturers and construction. Imports make up about a third of the steel American businesses use every year, and more than 90% of aluminum used here.
Shares of Boeing and General Motors pointed to a 1% drop Friday. Ford was set to open 0.5% lower. All three fell on Thursday.
Anheuser-Busch issued this statement about President Trump’s proposed tariffs:
“Anheuser-Busch has been a proud leading manufacturer and employer in the United States for more than 165 years – we currently operate 21 breweries in 15 states and employ more than 18,000 people in the U.S. Because beer is increasingly packaged in aluminum cans, the proposed 10 percent tariff on aluminum will likely cost U.S. brewers millions of dollars, making it more difficult to grow and further invest in our U.S. operations. We urge the Administration to consider the impact of these decisions on the thousands of hard-working Americans and millions of beer drinkers that make up the U.S. beer industry.”
If the tariffs bring higher steel and aluminum, companies that rely on them may pass off some of those costs to consumers. That raises the possibility inflation will creep up.
At least two corners of the stock market cheered Trump’s tariff announcement. U.S. Steel and AK Steel are set to open slightly lower Friday after soaring 6% and 10%, respectively, on Thursday.
Century Aluminum is also pointing to a higher start Friday after spiking 7% Thursday. Another major aluminum maker, Alcoa, is set to open ahead for the second day in a row.