NEW YORK The U.S. pipe and tube market remains somewhat weak early in the year, with prices generally holding steady or dipping and recently announced hikes so far failing to take hold.
"Prices are going down slowly. Its just soft demand," a source at one structural and mechanical mill said.
Hollow structural sections (HSS) are now around $910 per ton ($45.50 per hundredweight), down 2.2 percent from $930 per ton ($46.50 per hundredweight) a month ago.
Another structural and mechanical mill source said its "hard to see where exactly the market is right now" because "nobody is sticking to their price sheet."
Chesterfield, Mo.-based Bull Moose Tube Co.s recent increase of $50 per ton on HSS (amm.com, Jan. 29) is said to have fizzled.
"I believe really that if there is any movement in HSS, it will go lower before it goes higher," a source at a Mid-Atlantic distributor said. "(Demand) is similar to January ... and its definitely down from the same period last year."
Demand for oil country tubular goods (OCTG) is also said to be lackluster as the North American drill rig count remains comparatively low.
"Its quite obvious that well drilling has slowed down," a second Mid-Atlantic distributor source said.
The latest U.S. rig count from Houston-based oilfield services firm Baker Hughes Inc. was 1,761, down just one from the previous week but 220 below a year earlier.