MRC Global InSight

Tariffs, Duties &
A Steady Global Recovery

MRC Global is pleased to welcome you to our October 2018 edition of InSight. Since our last publication, an unprecedented number of tariffs and duties imposed upon imported steel products has impacted the U.S. market. This combination of government and private actions have resulted in a range of country-specific quotas, tariffs and anti-dumping and countervailing duties that are causing significant disruption to the supply and demand cycle in the U.S. market. These actions will have a ripple effect on global supply and pricing; therefore, we have produced a separate section to report on the details of these significant actions in this edition.

In general, the global market has continued to recover since our last publication. While North America is recovering more quickly than the rest of the world, the increase in activity has been steady. This sustainable global recovery is also well balanced across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. In line with that upward trend, prices are generally inflationary across all markets as a result of legislation in the U.S. and rising manufacturing costs, particularly in China.

North America has led the global recovery with strong activity levels across all sectors in 2018. The upstream, on-land sector in the U.S. has been very busy especially considering the high activity levels in the Permian Basin. The midstream sector is also exceptionally robust as pipeline expansion projects continue to expand the infrastructure to deliver gas and oil from the shale plays to the U.S. Gulf Coast and export terminals. The downstream sector is experiencing strong demand due to ongoing greenfield and brownfield expansions to increase production and take advantage of lower energy supply costs.

Activity outside of North America has also remained steadfast in the recovery that began in early 2018. The upstream, offshore sector in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) and in the North Sea has improved, and significant investments by major producers have been announced. The downstream sector is also showing stronger activity in Europe with brownfield expansions complimented by increase MRO and project work in Asia. We expect the Middle East to maintain its current robust activity level throughout the next year.

As tariffs and duties initially bite into the U.S. market, the impact on supply and demand will be felt globally. A global presence and supply chain gives MRC Global a unique perspective and ability to leverage both scale and scope to assist our customers through a dynamic time when the full impact of recent government actions on the pipe, valve and fitting (PVF) supply chain is largely uncertain. MRC Global’s position as the leading PVF distributor allows us to use our intelligence network, purchasing leverage and significant inventory position to help our customers maintain their supply chains and achieve success in spite of market volatility.

InSight Magazine: October 2015

Robert Stein

Senior Vice President
Business Development
InSight Magazine: October 2015

John Bowhay

Senior Vice President
Supply Chain Management,
Valve & Technical Product Sales