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Industrial minerals in the new Trump era

"We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now," Donald Trump told supporters at a campaign speech back in April.
Seven months later, fresh from his victory in the race to become the 45th president of the US, that sentence aptly encapsulates the sentiment that is sweeping through the US public and the international community alike.

Trump’s win over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton brought about a storm of uncertainty over what this may mean for the US and, indeed, the world.
During a year of campaigning, Trump promised to do everything and the opposite of everything. His political programme has been described as evanescent at best, unrealistic and populist at worst.

In the coming months, IM will be closely monitoring how the choices of the new presidency will come to affect the industrial minerals markets we cover. In the meantime, here is a first run-through a number of key sectors that could be re-shaped by Trump’s political imprint.

Trade: wars or no wars
The news that Trump had defeated Clinton had an immediate effect on a number of commodity markets. Copper closed on a high yesterday and is on track to reach a three-decade record today. The US dollar had a short-lived dive as the results were announced, but quickly rebounded upwards.

The copper bubble and investors’ trust in the value of the US currency are mainly linked to Trump’s bold proposals, which he reiterated during his campaign, to pour money into domestic spending for infrastructure projects across the country.

The outlook is less clear when it comes to international trade, particularly for trade flows into the US. Citing his willingness to prompt trade wars, Trump repeatedly attacked existing trade deals such as Nafta and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and stated he would impose a 45% duty on goods imported from China, to safeguard local productions.

Strongly taxing imports of all raw materials from China would be impossible, he added, as the US does not have enough of its own supply to be self-sufficient.
He conceded that increased taxes on end products, like steel or photovoltaics, may become a reality. But even if they did, that should not affect raw material producers.
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