Global steel giant ArcelorMittal said Thursday that second quarter net profits climbed nearly 19 per cent to $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros) thanks to improving market conditions. Sales rose by 17 per cent from the same quarter last year, and were up by seven percent from the first quarter. The company said “current market conditions are improved compared to twelve months ago” and that its analysis of the market “suggests that steel shipments in 2H 2017 will be higher than would normally be suggested by seasonality alone.” It said interest costs were expected to be lower than it had previously estimated, allowing it to increase investment in working capital while continuing to pare down debt. ArcelorMittal’s improving performance comes despite tensions ratcheting higher over China’s failure to cut down its massive overcapacity in steel production. The United States has vowed to slap tariffs on steel imports while the EU has taken measures against some Chinese steel products, arguing that the government is providing unfair subsidies to manufacturers and distorting the market.
“It remains a matter of concern that we are not able to capture the full benefits of this demand growth due to continued high levels of imports,” ArcelorMittal’s chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said in the company’s earnings statement. “We continue to work towards achieving a comprehensive trade solution in response to unfair imports.”