NEW YORK Imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) spiked more than expected in August, with preliminary data showing inflows of 342,204 tonnes.
Thats up 61.8 percent from 211,479 tonnes imported in July and marks the highest level since May 2012, when 348,464 tonnes were brought ashore, according to the U.S. Commerce Departments Import Administration.
Argentina led the increase, with 96,024 tonnes compared with 7,340 tonnes in July and an average of 11,972 tonnes per month shipped to the United States during the first seven months of the year.
Market participants were surprised with the increase, as the country wasnt named in a recently filed anti-dumping case by domestic producers against nine countries. Sources had expected a rise in imports from some of the countries involved in the probe before preliminary decisions are made by Commerce later this year.
The U.S. International Trade Commission revoked anti-dumping duties on OCTG imports from Argentina to the United States in 2007.
South Korea shipped 78,081 tonnes of OCTG in August, according to the preliminary data, a 43.2-percent increase from July and the highest level since January, in line with expectations.
"We will see some increase in imports (from the countries involved in the OCTG case) and its reflected in what were seeing in the figures," one trader said.
Other countries involved in the case also shipped more in August than July, with India stepping up OCTG imports to 21,301 tonnes from 7,888 tonnes, Vietnam shipping 14,662 tonnes compared with 491.9 tonnes and Ukraine more than doubling its imports to 9,464 tonnes from 4,040 tonnes.
Meanwhile, preliminary line pipe imports totaled 159,092 tonnes in August, down 12 percent from 180,695 tonnes in July. The last time they fell below this level was in September 2012, when 148,369 tonnes of line pipe were imported.