Price shift, energy costs cloud pipe mart future

Apr 17, 2012 | 04:49 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  steel tube, steel pipe, price increases, HSS, A53, grade B tubing, OCTG, line pipe oil

TORONTO — The pipe and tube market appeared to be in a holding pattern Tuesday as the impact of increases on non-energy-related tubulars remained in doubt.

At the same time, concerns were mounting in the long-robust energy tubulars sector about a declining drill rig count and natural gas prices, which fell below $2 per million British thermal units (mmBTUs) Tuesday, a level that industry observers said could make many shale gas plays unprofitable.

There appeared to be little consensus on the overall health of the pipe and tube markets, or even regarding prices in general. But, as previously, energy-sector players generally remained more optimistic than those more heavily reliant on construction activity.

For domestic hollow structural sections (HSS), a tubing product used in the construction industry, prices were said to be at about $980 per ton ($49 per hundredweight) for April, down $10 from $990 per ton ($49.50 per cwt) in March.

The modest decrease came despite tube mills announcing price increases of $30 per ton ($1.50 per cwt) in recent days (AMM, April 17).....

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