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OCTG imports rise in March despite weak market

Keywords: Tags  OCTG, oil country tubular goods, line pipe, March imports, South Korea pipe, India pipe, Canada pipe, Census Bureau Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — U.S. imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) rose in March compared with February in what sources said is still a soft market.

Imports of the product totaled 215,617 tonnes, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data, up 17.9 percent from the 182,888 tonnes imported in February but 30.8 percent below the 311,616 tonnes brought in during March 2012.

A large percentage of OCTG is still coming into the market unsold, leading to a supply glut, sources said.

“There’s not much change. It’s still weak, demand is still fairly slow,” one trader said, but noted a pickup in inquiries for longer-term supply (, April 25).

U.S. imports of South Korean OCTG ticked up 4.1 percent to 58,960 tonnes from 56,639 tonnes in February, and gained 5.8 percent year on year from 55,751 tonnes.

A much-discussed trade case against producers from the Asian country will likely be filed soon to take into account comparatively weak first-quarter earnings for most domestic steelmakers, sources said.

“They have to file a case within the next two to three weeks,” a second trader said.

Imports of OCTG from India nearly quadrupled to 22,978 tonnes in March from 5,917 tonnes in February, while shipments from Canada increased 45.3 percent to 31,541 tonnes from 21,712 tonnes in the same comparison.

Meanwhile, imports of line pipe fell nearly 11 percent to 171,257 tonnes from February’s 192,331 tonnes, and were 32.1 percent below the 252,343 tonnes brought in from abroad in March 2012.

Line pipe imports from South Korean rose 12.9 percent month on month to 58,352 tonnes from 51,700 tonnes in February, but fell 7.9 percent from 63,333 tonnes in March of last year.

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