NEW YORK Imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG)
remain high on the agendas of producers in the United States,
with several top executives drawing attention to the issue
during first-quarter conference calls in the past week.
Comments from Tenaris SA North American area manager
Germán Curá and U.S. Steel Corp. chairman and
chief executive officer John P. Surma about the damaging
effects of imports on prices reignited speculation that a
much-discussed potential trade case against South Korea and
other significant exporters of OCTG to the U.S. market could be
filed in the next few months, market sources told
Were expecting a trade case to be filed sometime
around July. Korean prices have been deteriorating week after
weekits crazy, one trader said.
Curá said that Tenaris and other domestic producers are
looking at imports from Korea and other countries that they
believe are crimping domestic prices. We believe we might
come to a final conclusion in the coming months, he said.
amm.com, May 2
Imports, which have taken a significant market share of both
OCTG and line pipe, remained at historically high levels
during the first two months of the year, with Korean
product in particular running well ahead of last
year, U.S. Steels Surma said during the
companys first-quarter earnings call (
amm.com, May 1).
However, some market sources said a trade case was unlikely,
pointing to tube makers first-quarter profits.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steels tubulars segment reported
first-quarter earnings of $62 million, while
Tenarispredominantly a pipe and tube makerposted
net income of $422.7 million during the period (
amm.com, May 2
When you are making a profit, its hard to make the
case that you are injured, a second trader said.
However, both companies results were lower than those
achieved in the same period a year ago, when U.S. Steels
tubular segment made $129 million and Tenaris net income
was 5.7 percent higher at $448.2 million. Tenaris North
American sales fell 9.9 percent to $1.14 billion during the
first quarter as prices for commodity products declined.
You have to take a look at where they were last
year, a third trader said. My gut is, it (the trade
case) is coming.