Energy and commodities highlights: US steel and aluminum tariffs, Middle East oil and electric power

Tariffs and trade deals are sticking to the top of the commodities agenda, after the US reached an agreement to remove Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico. The deal, announced on May 17, removes US import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, without imposing quotas to cap imports. Mexican steel producers welcomed the tariff removal, but remain in a challenging position due to pressure from US buyers to reduce prices, an increase in raw material costs, and flagging domestic demand. Back in the US, steel industry stakeholders gave a measured response, calling on the Trump administration to remain vigilant and prevent excessive imports. Also on May 17, the White House said the US would delay imposing tariffs on automobile and auto parts imports for six months while it negotiates trade deals with Japan and the EU. INFOGRAPHIC: MIDDLE EAST OIL AND ELECTRIC POWER The expected seasonal spike in power demand over the summer could cause problems for OPEC linchpin Saudi Arabia. Despite efforts to diversify electricity production, the kingdom is still heavily reliant on oil-fired generation. It also faces competing pressures to keep a lid on oil prices, and to rein… continue reading

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