NEW YORK The
energy tubular market was largely stable in August, with steady
demand and some limited upside seen on pricing. However,
sources were split on the markets near-term direction
amid fluctuating raw material prices.
A majority of sources
reported some upside from strengthening coil prices and a
recently filed trade case, with imported J55 casing prices
rising to $860 per ton from $850 and domestic X42 line pipe
increasing to $1,050 per ton from $1,020 per ton.
But others claimed
that continuing high imports were crimping prices despite a
recently filed trade case.
One source said the
overall health of the market is "poor," adding that the case
was "having no effect so far" as "pipe keeps pouring in."
One trader was more
optimistic, saying the case will eventually force prices up as
importers have to look to more expensive mills, particularly in
"Were kind of in
a holding pattern right now, unsure of which way its
going to go," he said, noting some reports of competitive
import hot-rolled coil offers and shrinking lead times that
could pressure domestic substrate.
Mill prices were
largely steady, a southern distributor said, adding that after
months of aggressive price competition the trade case has
changed distributors sales practices.
With a three-month
delivery window, OCTG import orders from the nine countries
involved in the anti-dumping probe are expected to slow as
arrival times near Dec. 9, when the Commerce Departments
preliminary decision is due.
"This is the month
when those vessels are going to be tapering off," a second
But some sources
remain concerned. "We will see some of these OCTG mills shift
production into line pipe, and line pipe didnt need any
help to be depressed," a third trader said.