NEW YORK Prices for oil
country tubular goods (OCTG) have continued their slow decline
in a well-supplied market that has seen only cautious buying so
far this year, market sources told AMM.
"Across the board, the industry
is suffering from lack of demand and also fear of buying
something, because if I buy today maybe I could have bought it
cheaper in two or three weeks time," one trader said.
"People are pushing the risk as far away from them as they
A second trader, who reported a
slight pickup in demand for January compared with a "painfully
slow" fourth quarter, said that imported material also was
keeping prices low. "We still have large amounts of inventory
in and around the Gulf Coast particularly, and the incoming
(material) is not allowing (it) to drop as quickly as it
could," he said.
Average prices for OCTG declined
0.6 percent to $1,720 per ton in January from $1,731 the
previous month, according to the latest figures from Tulsa,
Okla.-based Pipe Logix Inc. Average seamless OCTG prices
dropped 0.3 percent to $1,850 per ton from $1,856, while
average welded OCTG tags fell 0.9 percent to $1,591 per ton
Industry players still
anticipate a trade complaint being filed against South Korean
producers of welded OCTG, which could help prices recover (
amm.com, Jan. 16).
"Even the Koreans are a little
more believing that this is closer. In the past, theyve
really poo-pooed it: Its not going to happen and we
arent concerned," the second trader said.
The first trader agreed, saying
that Korean mills had indicated they were on a "hit list" for a
The threat has not stopped
Korean imports from entering the domestic market, however. U.S.
Census Bureau license data as of Jan. 29 indicates that the
country was shipping 97,792 tonnes to the United States in
January, the highest level in more than a year and well above
preliminary import figures of 18,955 tonnes in December.
"You look at these statistics on
the Koreans, and theyre not exactly being shy," the
second trader said.
License data shows an average
value of $971 per tonne for the product from Korea, 14 percent
lower than $1,129 in the same month last year.
The U.S. drill rig count climbed
by four to 1,753 recently, although thats still down 255
from the same period last year, according to Houston-based
oilfield services firm Baker Hughes Inc.