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11:56
UKRAINIAN PIPE PRODUCTION PLUMMETS 42% IN 7 MONTHS

Kyiv, August 4 (Interfax) - Steel pipe production in Ukraine plummeted 41.6% year-on-year to 886,200 tonnes in January-July, Ukrtruboprom, the Dnipropetrovsk-based Ukrainian pipe producers' association, told Interfax.

March output was 162,100 tonnes.

The Metinvest holding's Khartsyzsk Pipe Mill boosted output 110% in the seven months to 350,799 tonnes, including 48,116 tonnes in July.

Oleh Pokhilko, representing Trubokomplekt, one of Ukraine's biggest pipe traders, said welded pipe prices were higher but prices on seamless pipe remain stable. "Prices on seamless pipe are holding steady and no changes in their cost are foreseen. Demand in that pipe segment has been steady but low," he said.

Welded pipe prices began rising late last month due to a price hike of 400 hryvnia per tonne for roll produced at Zaporizhstal. But not all pipe producers have raised prices: Kominmet and Mariupol Iron and Steel Works raised their prices the most, while the Luhansk pipe mill kept its prices unchanged and Trubostal raised prices by 100 hryvnia per tonne.

"The forecast for welded pipe in August is a price rise of 300-400 hryvnia per tonne. Most likely that will occur in one or two weeks, as the pipe mills try to recoup the higher cost of roll. However that hasn't happened yet. Not all producers and traders have raised prices. As a result the welded pipe market in early August is in suspended animation as buyers and traders await developments," he said.

As for specialty pipe, Pokhilko said that market segment was now amply supplied, compared to the tight supplies of previous months. Buyers are now looking more carefully at prices, he said.

Ukrainian metal trading companies mainly work with Ukrainian pipe manufacturers, importing a small amount from Russia and even less from other suppliers, the president of the Ukrainian Association of Metal Traders, Andrei Fedoseev, said.

The bulk of Ukraine's pipe output is sold in Ukraine through the metal trading companies.

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