NEW YORK South Korean oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imports reached their highest level in more than a year in January, according to preliminary figures from the Commerce Departments Enforcement and Compliance division through Feb. 26.
Imports from South Korea were 138,459 tonnes in January, more than double Decembers 56,559 tonnes and 41.6 percent above the 97,785 tonnes brought in from the country during the same month last year.
South Korean shipments accounted for 46.5 percent of the total 297,696 tonnes of OCTG imported for the month.
In its recent preliminary decision, Commerces International Trade Administration (ITA) assessed no anti-dumping duties on Korean OCTG producers (amm.com, Feb. 18), meaning mills can keep importing without posting any duty payments until the final decisions are made.
One market source suggested that some South Korean mills might have increased their import volumes in January in anticipation of a less favorable verdict by the ITA.
Executives from Tenaris SA, Luxembourg, recently said the company expects an inventory buildup in the United States in the first half, particularly from South Korea, which also could pressure the market in the second half (amm.com, Feb. 21).
Among the other eight countries targeted in the case, Turkey and Thailand shipped the most OCTG in January.
U.S. imports from Turkey stood at 11,032 tonnes, down 31.3 percent from 16,067 tonnes in December; as intake from Thailand jumped 55 percent to 8,501 tonnes from 5,485 tonnes.
Turkish mills were assessed preliminary margins of zero to 4.87 percent, while Thai mills got the highest assessment of 118.32 percent.