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Trade verdict fails to deter S. Korea OCTG

Keywords: Tags  oil country tubular goods, OCTG, South Korea, line pipe, Metals Service Center Institute, MSCI, Kim Leppold, anti-dumping Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — U.S. imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from South Korea show no sign of slowing one month after the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration imposed anti-dumping duty margins ranging from 9.89 to 15.75 percent on Korean products.

OCTG imports from Korea are already on course to hit at least 98,000 tonnes this month, according to import license data collected by Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance division through Aug. 19, down from 148,965 tonnes in July but well above the 78,844 tonnes shipped in the entire month a year ago.

The average value of OCTG imports from Korea thus far this month has risen 1.8 percent to $956 per tonne from $939 in July, the license data show.

One industry analyst was not surprised by the continued inflows, although she also noted the lag effect of import shipments.

"It’s not surprising, although at this point we likely won’t see any real effects on the data until September because of the import lag," Kim Leppold, an analyst in Metal Bulletin Research’s tube and pipe group, told AMM. "There might have been a big press to buy before the duties came through."

One Midwest distributor source said that continued Korean shipments were "exactly what we expected," noting that the outcome of the trade case was the "worst resolution, with margins allowing (continued Korean) shipments."

Metal Bulletin Research said previously that it expected little change in Korean OCTG shipments as producers there have no domestic industry to supply (, July 14).

Meanwhile, line pipe imports from Korea, expected by some to rise after the OCTG decision, are showing signs of increasing. Import licence data listed 77,164 tonnes through Aug. 19 vs. 66,459 tonnes in July and 72,413 tonnes in August last year.

This comes as pipe and tube markets in general took a dip in July, according to the latest Metals Service Center Institute data. U.S. distributors’ carbon pipe and tubing shipments totaled 241,600 tons last month, down 2.8 percent from 248,500 tons in June but up 3.9 percent from 232,500 tons a year earlier.

U.S. distributors’ inventories at the end of July totaled 654,900 tons (2.7 months’ supply at current shipping rates), down 0.2 percent from 656,500 tons (2.6 months’ supply) the previous month and 3.9 percent below 681,700 tons in July last year.

Year-to-date shipments of 1.66 million tons were up 2.6 percent from 1.62 million tons in the first seven months of last year.

Canadian distributors’ carbon pipe and tubing shipments totaled 54,300 tons last month, down 1.8 percent from 55,300 tons in June but up 8.8 percent from 49,900 tons a year earlier, while inventories of 147,900 tons (2.7 months’ supply) were up 1.9 percent from 145,100 (2.6 months’ supply) at the end of June and 13.5 percent higher than 130,300 tons (2.6 months’ supply) in July last year.

Year-to-date shipments by Canadian distributors totaled 372,700 tons, down 1 percent from 376,500 tons in the first seven months of 2013.

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