NEW YORK Distributor sentiment on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) rose further in December despite another slight drop in overall selling prices.
"The industry sentiment is improving with the index increasing to 54, suggesting a slightly expanding market and returning to the sentiment levels measured in late summer," Pipe Logix LLC manager Kurt Minnich said.
The index also showed an uptick in November as orders improved, although prices also fell compared with the month prior (amm.com, Nov. 27).
OCTG product prices averaged $1,643 per short ton in December, down 0.2 percent from $1,647 a month earlier. Seamless product averaged $1,766 per ton, down 0.6 percent from $1,776 per ton, while electric-resistance welded product inched up 0.1 percent to $1,519 per ton from $1,518 per ton in the same comparison.
The largest decline was seen in seamless N80 production casing, which fell 2.1 percent to $1,661 per ton from $1,697 per ton in November; followed by seamless N80 tubing, which fell 2 percent to $1,910 per ton from $1,950 per ton.
Meanwhile, imports continue to pressure the market.
"Import volumes were nearly 400,000 tons in October, significantly above the trailing average. Imports in November are expected to be around 300,000 tons. At a consumption rate of 275 tons per rig per month, and a rig count that has averaged 1,760 year to date, the market has been oversupplied for the past several months," Minnich said.
The average price differential between domestic and import items grew to $443 per ton in December, he added.