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OCTG trade case may pressure line pipe market

Keywords: Tags  line pipe, OCTG, oil country tubular goods, X42, J55, U.S. Steel, OAO TMK, dumoping subsidy

NEW YORK — A dumping and subsidy complaint against producers of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) in nine countries may put increased pressure on the line pipe market, sources told AMM.

"I would expect it to. There will be more of a focus on that market (by foreign producers). There is all this capacity that will change its focus to another product," one trader said, noting that foreign mills had already stepped up their offers of line pipe as well as standard pipe.

"They (foreign mills) are pushing line pipe right now, but they’re not being very successful at it," a southern distributor source said, attributing that to tepid market conditions.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. said its second-quarter results were affected by declining line pipe prices (, July 29).

As a result of the slow market, line pipe prices have stagnated at comparatively low levels this month, with tags for domestic X42 holding steady at $1,020 per ton and imported X42 remaining at $820. The price of domestic J55 casing has ticked up to $1,150 per ton from $1,125 previously, and imported J55 casing has climbed to $850 per ton from $820 as a result of the anti-dumping case and rising coil prices both domestically and in Asia.

While prices for some OCTG products have picked up slightly as a result of the trade case, imports are unlikely to be crimped until the case moves further along, with the ITC expected to make a preliminary decision by Aug. 16 and the Commerce Department by Dec. 9 (, July 11).

Russian producer OAO TMK said it does not expect U.S. imports from the nine countries to drop significantly this year as a result of the trade complaint (, July 25).

However, some market participants said they have raised their prices due to a pickup in sentiment following the filing of the case. "I’ve got my numbers up fifty bucks already," one trader said.

Others cautioned, however, that the true effects of the case might only be felt next year.

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