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Imports threatening US OCTG pricing - 14 February 2012

A surge of OCTG imports from emerging markets in 2011 could be threatening domestic pricing, market sources tell Steel Business Briefing.

In 2011, the US imported a total of 2.6m tonnes of OCTG, up about 22.5% from 2010’s figure of 2.1m, according to the US Department of Commerce.

South Korea shipped the most OCTG to the US in 2011 at 615,576 tonnes, nearly double the amount shipped by runner-up Canada.

Turkey shipped 127,737 t to the US in 2011, up about 65% year-on-year, while imports from Argentina rose about 46% to 108,335 t.

Gulf ex-dock OCTG import pricing has been relatively stable at about $970-$1,020/short ton for J55 ERW carbon production casing.

However, an increased amount of material on the market and a relatively large spread with domestic material, which can be had for just under $1,300/s.t, fob mill, is applying downward pressure on US prices.

“I know the rig count is really, really healthy and consumption is good, but there’s still just a lot of tons available,” said a southern US trader. “I do know a lot of the yards are still very full.”

A southern stockist who deals primarily in domestic material said prices have been flat for the past several months due to the large amount of inventory available.

“I haven’t really seen much movement in quite some time,” he said. “I know some of the domestic mills went out for some price increases last year, but we haven’t seen anybody (recently) out trying to increase pricing.”


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