Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

China Steel Trade That Trump Wants to Whip Is Fueling U.S. Rally

Updated on
  • China steel exports at lowest since 2014 as iron imports jump
  • Producers in Americas gain most in five months, led by Cliffs

Donald Trump’s pledge to punish steel dumpers is being drowned out -- at least for now -- by Chinese steel curbs and record iron imports that are fueling the biggest rally by U.S. producers in five months.

The Bloomberg Americas Iron/Steel Index jumped as much as 3.9 percent on Friday, led by Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and U.S. Steel Corp. Behind the rally is data showing a drop in Chinese finished steel exports and an increase in iron-ore imports. Inbound shipments of iron ore surged above 100 million metric tons, smashing the previous high set in 2015 as the country’s environmental push boosted demand for higher-grade material.

“The thinking is that it shows that Chinese steel demand is strong and the entire global steel market goes as the Chinese steel market goes,” Lee McMillan, an analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities, said by telephone. “This is big news for that.”

— With assistance by Aoyon Ashraf

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