Metal tariffs would be a 'rounding error' for Apple at worst, analyst says

  • President Donald Trump announced tariffs this month on steel and aluminum imports.
  • Apple's tight-knit relationships with Chinese suppliers are unlikely to be threatened by trade barriers, according to GBH analyst Dan Ives.

President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, listens during the American Technology Council roundtable hosted at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Zach Gibson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, listens during the American Technology Council roundtable hosted at the White House in Washington, D.C.

Apple has little to fear from potential new tariffs, according to Dan Ives, an analyst at GBH Insights.

President Donald Trump announced tariffs this month on imported steel and aluminum and declared publicly that "trade wars aren't so bad." Stocks plunged after the decision on concern that products like aluminum Macs or iPhones with stainless rims might be more expensive under a tighter trade regime.

But while Apple shares have fallen more than 1.5 percent so far this week, the stock is still near all-time highs. Ives said that Apple's tight-knit relationships with Chinese suppliers are unlikely to be threatened by trade barriers.

"When it comes to Apple, depending on the tariff being levied on raw materials or finished products we would see in a 'worst case' scenario costs increase to produce Macs and iPhones of $50 million annually," Ives wrote. That number amounts to a "rounding error," he wrote, adding that, "in a base case scenario, input costs would only rise $20 million to $30 million for Apple on aluminum/steel tariffs, a diminutive number."

Ives said the slight dip in Apple shares could be a buying opportunity for bulls on the stock. Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

"In a nutshell, despite many yelling fire in a crowded theater on the negative impacts to some of these tech stalwarts with Apple front and center from potential tariffs and trade war backlash, we believe this is more 'bark rather than bite,'" Ives wrote.