An Unstable Environment Impacts Cleveland-Cliffs Stock Price


Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE:CLF) share price has been under pressure over the last two years; CLF stock continues to trade in the narrow range of $5 to $10 with sideways movements. Steel and iron ore production companies, including CLF, posted some gains at the beginning of the year, amid Donald Trump’s strategy of reviving the steel industry.

The US Department of Commerce suggested President impose 25% import tariff on steel at the beginning of March 2018. Although the decision of imposing tariffs would help U.S. producers to expand their market share, the market sentiments turned down after the president exempted several major importers from the list.

Brazil, Australia, and South Korea are among the countries that are exempted from new tariffs, while Canada and Mexico are exempted due to talks related to NAFTA agreement.

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J.P. Morgan’s Michael Gambardella said, “Significant details around the tariffs, such as whether specific countries will be exempted, are still lacking, so it is difficult to assess the ultimate impact on steel prices.”

The Cleveland-Cliffs stock has been under pressure due to traders concerns related to the list countries that are exempted from tariffs. CLF stock trades around $6 at present, just shy of the 52-week low of $5.56 per share.

Its revenue and production potential has been declining due to the unstable market environment. CLF posted year over year negative revenue growth of 22% in the latest quarter. Its iron ore pellet sales fell 22% Y/Y to 5.4M long tons, and Asia Pacific iron ore sales volume declined 30% to 2M metric tons.

Cleveland-Cliffs management, however, is working actively on cost-cutting strategies to turn the negative revenue growth into positive earnings. Its cost of goods sold declined to $492 million in Q4 of FY2017 from $573 million in the same period last year.

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Mr. Goncalves, the CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs claimed several successful initiatives including overall business strategy, commercial, operations, and finance helped the company to generate greater than 25 percent EBITDA growth in the second consecutive year.

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