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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

Mike Allen, author of AM
34 seconds ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.

1 hour ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.

Instagram's boss faces Congress' questions on harm to teens

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED

The head of Instagram will find himself in Congress' crosshairs for the first time Wednesday in the one area lawmakers have shown they are willing to pass tech regulations — protecting youngsters online.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats have found common ground in grilling tech companies on how their products harm children, especially after revelations in The Wall Street Journal about Instagram's potential harm to the mental health of teen girls.