While President Trump’s latest round of tariffs has only just taken effect, and his earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum weren’t widely imposed on American allies until May, American companies, or foreign firms’ US-based subsidiaries, are already complaining about the negative impact that tariffs are expected to have. And as the White House mulls over whether to slap 10% tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports, the situation is finally “getting real.” Companies have warned for months that the tariffs would hurt economic growth, but to try and get a handle on the “real-world impact”of these policies, Bloomberg is compiling a list of companies that have either mentioned the tariffs during their earnings calls, or have released some other tariff-based announcement.
Though tariffs will have an impact on big and small US companies, Bloomberg is focusing on only the biggest publicly-traded firms. As Bloomberg points out, while Trump says he wants to protect American jobs, General Motors says his threat to tax imports of auto parts could force GM to cut its workforce in the US. Meanwhile, higher US tariffs on steel have prompted Germany’s Kloeckner & Co. to raise its earnings forecast because prices have risen so much.
Here’s a roundup of the headlines, with link. Only two of the references – Kloeckner’s and Ryerson’s – have been positive.
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Procter & Gamble: Cites ‘meaningful’ impact of tariffs on a handful of products in Canada, which accounts for 3% of global sales
Kloeckner: Steel trader raises earnings forecast on higher U.S. prices
General Motors: Could be forced to cut U.S. jobs if tariffs are applied to imported vehicles and auto parts.
Volvo Cars: Owner Li Shufu says cars will cost more as trade wars escalate
Ryerson: Metal processor’s sales guidance exceeds estimates in part because of higher anticipated demand from inventory dislocations tied to tariffs
Osram: Trade tensions will weaken sales of automotive lighting parts
Brown-Forman: Raised Jack Daniel’s prices in light of EU tariffs
Harley-Davidson: Plans to move production overseas, sees EU tariff costs of $100 million annually
Daimler: Cut profit forecast on U.S.-China trade fight
Tyson Foods: ‘Day-to-day uncertainty’ in delivering products and services
MillerCoors: Brewer says profit could fall by $40 million depending on how much aluminum prices rise
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While the second-quarter earnings season is only just getting started, we imagine companies will have much more to say in 90 days when the third quarter ends, and the pre-tariff “doomsday-prepping” growth boom that economists have been warning about finally materializes. Still, as we pointed out earlier, concerns about trade, real or expected, are still far behind currency-related concerns.