COLUMN-Aluminium through the looking glass after Trump’s tariffs – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – March 13, 2018)

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) – In a little more than a week’s time the United States will impose a tariff of 10 percent on all aluminium imports and 25 percent on all steel imports.

Except for those from Canada and Mexico. For now. Their exemptions have been folded into separate negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Other countries may receive exemptions as well, depending on who qualifies as a “real” friend in the eyes of U.S. President Donald Trump. So far, only “our ally, the great nation of Australia” has been given the Presidential nod.

What were announced as global tariffs are already morphing into something more complex, shaped by confusingly elastic politics. The aluminium market, however, hasn’t waited for the many nuances to play out. It has quickly adjusted to price in a post-tariff environment.

Not on the London Metal Exchange (LME), where the aluminium price at $2,100 a tonne is little changed since Trump signed the executive orders for tariffs last Thursday. Rather, the price reaction has taken place in the physical premium paid by U.S. manufacturers for their metal.

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