MARSTON, Missouri (Reuters) – A bankrupt aluminum smelter that re-opened in 2018, after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imported metals, is losing money at such a rapid clip that it could close within 60 days, the top executive at the Missouri plant said on Thursday.
Trump’s trade policies protect the generic aluminum product made by Magnitude 7 Metals LLC, a 50-year-old smelter on the banks of the Mississippi in southeastern Missouri. But the tariffs often do not cover the value-added aluminum products being shipped to the Unites States by foreign competitors, undercutting the company’s position.
“The rest of the world has gamed the tariffs, in our opinion,” Magnitude 7 Metals chief executive Charles Reali told Reuters in an interview. “The Commerce Department tried to help, but missed the mark.”
The grim outlook for Magnitude 7 has been exacerbated by the coronavirus, which is reverberating around the globe while raising fears of a global recession. On Friday, the London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminum price CMAL3 fell to $1,676 per ton, the lowest since October 2016.
“We are in prayer” mode, Reali said. “If things don’t turn around in the next 60 days, I don’t know.”
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