Washington attorney Lewis Leibowitz offers the following trade update:
Several countries have arrived in Washington seeking exemption from the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. The EU and Brazil were notable, as was the Republic of Korea. Australia, which claimed it had won an exemption a week ago, is still not formally exempt. The most likely bet—the tariffs will go into effect Friday morning with all steel product imports subject to a 25 percent tariff, except those from Canada and Mexico.
The market is waiting anxiously to see how the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariff will affect steel imports, and in turn steel prices. The 25 percent tariff takes effect on Friday. If Steel Market Update’s latest sample of reader opinion is any indication, the volume of imports into the United States may not moderate as much as many expect. More than eight out of 10 (83 percent) of import buyers responding to SMU’s market trends questionnaire this week say they will continue to buy foreign steel despite Trump’s tariff.
A survey by the Precision Metalforming Association prior to the Section 232 announcement showed metalforming manufacturing companies expecting little change in business conditions and steady orders for the next three months.
Existing-home sales rebounded in February after two months of declines, according to data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Total existing-home sales jumped 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million. Sales were 1.1 percent higher than a year ago.
Bidding for bankrupt Essar Steel is back to square one after offers from Numetal and ArcelorMittal were declared ineligible by lenders. The bids were rejected under the amended Insolvency and Bankrupcty Code that prohibits related parties and insolvency-linked parties from bidding.