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Expand chart
Data: Company filings; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Whirlpool is selling fewer appliances in its biggest market, but still raking in record profits, according to its first quarter earnings report.

Why it matters: Whirlpool, whose CEO once praised protectionist trade policies, quickly went from the winning side to the losing side of President Trump's trade war. But it's since fended off waning demand with price hikes on washers and dryers, which in turn, has caused even less demand.

The big picture, via the New York Times' Jim Tankersley: "Companies that largely sell imported washers, like Samsung and LG, raised prices to compensate for the tariff costs they had to pay. But domestic manufacturers, like Whirlpool, increased prices, too, largely because they could."

Background: Trump imposed tariffs as high as 50% on imported washing machines in January of last year, which Whirlpool hoped would turn consumers away from its foreign competitors.

  • Months later, the Trump administration announced steel and aluminum tariffs, sending prices for the raw material needed to make appliances higher. "The global steel costs have risen substantially, and in particular, in the US, they have reached unexplainable levels," CEO Marc Bitzer told analysts last year, as CNN reports.

Yes, but: Researchers argue in a paper released this week that the industry's price increases are not a result of higher material costs, but "domestic firms exploiting their market power."

  • Whirlpool isn't denying that. In a release alongside its earnings report, Blitzer attributed the strong results to "successful execution of price increases" despite "a soft demand environment."
  • Shares of Whirlpool rose 8% in late trading on Monday.

Go deeper: Investors don't care about the Trump trade war with China

Go deeper

Column / Harder Line

New England power fight foreshadows divisive clean energy future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It wasn’t his first choice, but Sean Mahoney isn’t fighting a 150-mile proposed power line sending Canadian hydropower to New England as part of the region’s climate-change goals.

Why he matters: Mahoney, a senior expert at the nonprofit Conservation Law Foundation who lives in Maine, is seeking to compromise in a bitter battle over the proposal. Expect more fights like this as President Biden and other political leaders pursue zero-carbon economies over the next 30 years.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."