Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Trump threats fail to hurt South American steelmakers

Shares in Brazilian and Argentinian firms unaffected by latest Twitter tirade

Steel beams sit outside Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil. US President Donald Trump accused Brazil and Argentina on Monday of hurting American farmers through currency manipulation and said he’d impose tariffs on their steel and aluminum imports to retaliate. AP Photo
Steel beams sit outside Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil. US President Donald Trump accused Brazil and Argentina on Monday of hurting American farmers through currency manipulation and said he’d impose tariffs on their steel and aluminum imports to retaliate. AP Photo

President Donald Trump on Monday rolled out a new round of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports intended to punish Brazil and Argentina for cheapening their currencies. But Brazilian steelmakers were winners alongside their US counterparts as shares for companies in both countries gained.

In 2018, Trump was famously quoted talking about trade wars, stating they were "good, and easy to win".

Brazilian steelmakers, though, are unlikely to feel much of a sting because they either have plants in the U.S. or ship relatively little into the country, according to Pedro Galdi, an analyst at Mirae Asset Wealth Management. JP Morgan Chase and XP Investimentos reiterated their buy-equivalent ratings for Gerdau.

“The impact is neutral, almost null” on Brazilian steelmakers, Galdi said by phone. The companies “are exporting very little and basically steel plates, a basic product which they can easily redirect to other markets. That’s why stocks are not reacting negatively to the announcement.”

The American depository receipts of Brazilian steel maker Gerdau SA rose 2 per cent, while Cia Siderurgica Nacional, or CSN, rose 4.1 per cent and Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais gained 1.3 per cent. Meanwhile, in New York trading, AK Steel Holding, US Steel and TimkenSteel all advanced more than 3 per cent.

Gerdau, which has plants in the US, might have to manage its stocks and avoid using material it produces in Brazil in its North American operations, Galdi said. CSN can sell its products to other countries, according to Galdi.

Updated: December 2, 2019 09:10 PM

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