NEW YORK Some pipe and
tube prices registered an uptick in March due to increasing raw
material costs, although demand has yet to improve, market
sources told AMM.
"Its still pretty flat.
Theres nothing in the immediate future (to spur a
pickup), but we are expecting the year to improve every month
as things go on," a Mid-Atlantic pipe and tube distributor
Hollow structural sections (HSS)
prices have increased to $920 per ton ($46 per hundredweight)
from $910 per ton ($45.50 per cwt) previously, with mills
capturing at least part of a recent $30-per-ton ($1.50-per-cwt)
However, a small number of
sources still reported prices were well below
AMMs $920-per-ton benchmark, possibly the result
of a handful of mills not joining the increase.
Conditions in the pipe market
are "fair," most participants told AMM, although price
forecasts were divided, with just over half of respondents
expecting price decreases and the remainder seeing rising
On the energy tubulars front,
some prices for imported oil country tubular goods (OCTG) and
line pipe picked up in March on a recent increase in Chinese
coil prices, although the impetus from that rise is already
said to be fading.
"Most of the (foreign) mills
tried to raise the prices as coil prices went up," one trader
Imported X42 line pipe has
climbed to $865 per ton ($43.25 per cwt) from $850 per ton
($42.50 per cwt) previously, while J55 casing rose to $880 per
ton ($44 per cwt) from $870 per ton ($43.50 per cwt) as a
result, although sources said initial increases had been
Demand in the sector has been
steady, with a recent rise in natural gas prices expected to
spur a pickup.
"Id say demands
about where its been. Its not going crazy, but
theres good activity right now. The gas prices seem to be
moving, so if they continue to stay up I wouldnt be
surprised to see that activity pick up," a distributor in the
Market speculation about a trade
case against South Korean energy tubular product producers
persisted, with a second trader saying he was no longer
convinced a case would be filed.
"If it doesnt come this
week, its not coming," he said. "If they file this week,
they get the fourth-quarter numbers and the first-quarter
numbers in. They dont want the third-quarter numbers
coming in because their order books are pretty strong on the