A group of US companies that produce specialty steel pipe used to drill for oil and gas have launched one of the biggest steel trade cases in years, asking the US International Trade Commission to stem what they say is a flood of unfairly traded products from nine countries, including Turkey.
Energy infrastructure investments have gained remarkable importance in the US over the recent years given the country's shale oil and gas discoveries. Turkish steel firms have been interested in growing US demand for energy pipes.
Borusan Mannesmann, Turkey's leading steel pipe manufacturer, is preparing to invest $150 million in building a plant in “either Texas or Oklahoma” to tap the shale gas boom there. A group of steel pipe manufacturers accompanied Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan on a business trip to Texas in April, seeking new business ties.
If the US steel pipe producers succeed, the price of some high-margin steel products sold to the energy industry could rise, benefiting domestic producers like United States Steel Corp.
The petition, filed on Tuesday on behalf of US Steel and other companies, asked the commission to investigate imports of some "oil country tubular goods" from India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Today's Zaman was able to reach Borusan Mannesmann on Thursday; however, it declined to comment, saying only that “it is not correct to comment while an investigation is in process.”
The Turkish Steel Pipe Manufacturers Association was not immediately available to comment. Shares of US Steel jumped late on Tuesday but gave back some gains on Wednesday, dropping 5.6 percent to $18.18 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of pipe specialists Vallourec and Tenaris rose.
Nomura Securities analyst Curt Woodworth said the filing was a "modest positive" for US producers, but noted that domestic capacity is set to rise in 2014 and 2015 in any case. "These trade cases can be time consuming," he said. "With the anti-dumping cases, you need to prove financial injury. That will be difficult to prove, given that most of the companies are still very profitable." In the short term, he said, some countries may dial back aggressive pricing.
S&P, as it cut its profit estimates for US Steel on Wednesday, saw the ITC complaint as a potential positive, but one that would take months to resolve. US steel manufacturing has been hit by weaker demand in the past year, but steel pipe sales to the oil sector have been a bright spot for the industry, and that has increased imports. Many involved in the industry had been expecting an anti-dumping case for months.
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 05 Temmuz 2013, 10:26