Shares of manufacturer United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) jumped as much as 16.5% in trading Friday after the U.S. Department of Commerce gave its options for steel import tariffs. Shares traded higher throughout the day, and at 3:50 p.m. EST were near their daily high at $45.20, 15.9% higher on the day.
President Trump will ultimately have to decide between two tariff options on steel, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Tariffs could be at least 24% on all steel imports from anywhere around the world and at least 7.7% for all aluminum imports if the widest net is cast.
Another option will be tariffs of at least 53% on steel imports from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, Russia, Egypt, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam. There's also an option for 23.6% tariffs on aluminum imports from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela, and Vietnam, with quotas for all other countries.
Finally, quotas could be implemented at 63% of 2017 steel exports and 87% of aluminum exports, effectively giving U.S. manufacturers a bigger piece of the domestic market.
President Trump isn't shying away from tariffs, and that's music to the ears of domestic steel and aluminum manufacturers. No matter what he decides to impose, tariffs will be an incremental boost to companies like U.S. Steel, which has struggled with billions in losses over the past decade. I don't think tariffs are enough to make the stock a great investment, but if it can lower costs and become more competitive long-term, there could be upside for investors.
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