Trade With USA Forecast To Drop Kc2 Billion Due To Steel Tariffs

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Prague, June 1 (CTK) – The impact of US customs duties on steel and aluminium on Czech trade will be worth almost Kc2bn, that is 2.4 percent of total Czech exports to the USA, Raiffeisenbank analyst Jakub Cervenka told CTK today.


The impact will be marginal for the Czech economy, Radim Dohnal, an analyst of portal, estimated the slowing of the GDP growth at less than 0.1 percent.


The USA imposed customs duties at 25 percent on steel and at 10 percent on aluminium also on imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico as of today.


The USA introduced new customs duties on steel and aluminium on March 23 but the EU had an exception. It warned that if the customs duties are imposed on its steel and aluminium products, it will adopt retaliatory measures.


It would be worse if the trade war extended also to exports of automobiles from the EU to the USA. In such case, the impact on Czech GDP could reach even several percent.


“And unfortunately, regions which have assembly plants, like the Czech Republic, would be hit worse,” Dohnal remarked.


In case of the EU’s retaliatory measures, whose consequence could be customs duties on ‘imports of German cars’, as US President Donald Trump frequently mentions, the impact on Czech car makers will be marginal, Cervenka said.


The main markets for domestic car makers are in Western Europe and to a smaller extent in Asia. In case of the Asian markets, there are efforts on both sides to further strengthen the trade relations.


From the point of view of the whole economy, the customs duties on steel and aluminium do not mean a big figure. However, the steel industry and production of basic metals, which in the Czech Republic are concentrated in the Ostrava district, will be hit strongly, Cervenka noted.


“Unfortunately, these are sectors which are in a long-term decline,” said Raiffeisenbank chief economist Helena Horska.


Prices of commodities have not reacted to the trade war in a fundamental way. Gold prices have grown by USD3 against Thursday to roughly USD1,299 per ounce and silver prices remained unchanged.


“Nothing has changed for Czech investors thus far, gold prices move at record lows for this year these days but a price growth can be expected in the days to come due to the worsening disputes between the USA and EU. Gold price will probably reach USD1,500 per ounce this year,” said Golden Gate CZ analyst Pavel Ryba.