Import Growth in the Tariff Era

The trade dispute means China's import numbers are under even more scrutiny

Tariff talk has silenced some imports entirely. As seen in the figure below, YTD major import growth by volume is a mixed bag. Alumina, aluminum, and aluminum scrap all increased. Aluminum is at record highs, as a result imports are up on par with the market. Refrigeration also increased by 37%. Copper is -15%, however we believe this is a result of the dollar gaining strength at the expense of copper. It is not just copper, but other metals as well. Notably, another sector with downward momentum is steel. Steel billet, products and pipes are at -12%, 0% and 1% respectively. A compelling sector of growth is machine tools with 25% growth. With construction being on an upward momentum, seeing an adjacent sector like machine tools increase is a good sign for construction.

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