The Week In Metals: Inauguration Edition

Donald Trump didn’t officially become President of the United States until today, but his influence was all over the markets this week.

Why Not a Weaker Dollar?

Early in the week Trump broke with traditional protocol for presidents and presidents-elect and said he desires a weaker U.S. dollar. Since the Carter administration, the Federal Reserve has enjoyed relative autonomy in setting the value of the currency, or even talking about its value, as even comments about it by previous presidents have moved the dollar’s value erratically.

True to form, Trump’s comments helped sink the U.S. dollar index by 1% vs. other major currencies. However, our Raul de Frutos helpfully points out this breach of protocol is good for metal prices as is a weaker dollar.

251% Tariffs Confirmed For Chinese CTL Plate

While Trump hadn’t even taken office yet, a policy he, well, trumpeted on the campaign trail was confirmed by the Commerce Department this week even before his nominee to head the bureaucracy, billionaire Wilbur Ross, was confirmed to start leading it. Trump has said Chinese products imported into the U.S. should be heavily tariffed. All but one Chinese steelmaker had 251% tariffs for cut-to-length steel plate confirmed on Wednesday. Jiangyin Xingcheng Special Steel Works Co. Ltd. escaped with “only” 68.7% tariffs because it had the decency to respond to Commerce’s questionnaire in the proceedings.

Also, another accusation of many of Trump’s appointees, that Chinese GDP numbers are fabricated, was partially confirmed this week in a report from the governor of Liaoning province.

Can Anyone Stop Automation?

While Trump has promised to bring jobs and prosperity back to blighted blue-collar communities, MetalMiner Co-Founder Stuart Burns explained that no matter what happens with investment by manufacturers in new plants and facilities, the march of automation cannot be stopped. Technology stands still for no one and jobs performing complex tasks such as welding and even fruit picking can now be automated thanks to artificial intelligence. President Trump and his team might be able to incentivize investment in the U.S., but it might not bring the jobs he promised.

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