NEW YORK Line pipe prices reached the highest level so far this year in June, with imports outpacing domestic gains.
Average domestic distributor selling prices rose 0.4 percent to $1,983 per short ton in June from $1,975 a month earlier, while imported material climbed 0.9 percent to $1,282 per ton, according to data from Tulsa, Okla.-based Pipe Logix LLC.
Average U.S. prices for seamless line pipe rose 0.2 percent to $2,616, with welded product up 0.7 percent to $1,350 per ton.
The largest domestic gains were seen in large-diameter (14- to 24-inch) welded pipe, which rose 1.1 percent to $1,413 per ton.
Sentiment inched up with prices, buoyed by a reduction in unsold inventory. "The National Association of Pipe Distributors index registered 67, indicating a market expansion is under way. This compares to a score of 64 in May," Pipe Logix manager Kurt Minnich said in a statement.
Import volumes are "expected to have exceeded 220,000 tons in May, on par with levels seen a year ago but significantly higher than volumes this past winter," he noted.