President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel have sped the decline of some of the U.S. mills he vowed to help.
Industry Week reported that exuberance over the levies dramatically boosted U.S. output just as the global economy was cooling, undercutting demand. That dropped prices, creating a stark divide between companies like Nucor Corp., which use cheaper-to-run electric-arc furnaces to recycle scrap into steel products, and those including U.S. Steel Corp. with more costly legacy blast furnaces.
Since Trump announced the tariffs 16 months ago, U.S. Steel has lost almost 70% of its market value, or $5.6 billion, and idled two American furnaces in mid-June that couldn’t be run profitably at the lowest prices since 2016. Meanwhile, Nucor, down around 20%, has touted $2.5 billion in expansion projects.
The president’s actions likely “sped up” up an unavoidable “evolution,” said Nucor Chief Executive Officer John Ferriola in an interview last month. “Are some companies going to suffer? Absolutely. We’ll we see some capacity go away, I’m sure of it.”
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