MRC Global InSight

Gas Products

Polyethylene (PE) Pipe & Fittings

Demand for PE pipe has remained strong through the first half of 2019. However, because manufacturers increased capacity at the end of 2018, lead times have come down slightly, and pricing has stabilized.

Current lead times for small diameter pipe and tubing have reduced to two weeks, and inventory is available on hand. Lead times for larger sizes of standard pipe items have also stabilized to two to three weeks. Lead times are expected to remain favorable for the remainder of 2019, and into 2020.

Risers

Riser demand continues to grow due to active replacement programs. Manufacturing capacity has been increased and is keeping pace with the increased demand. Pricing is expected to continue to be volatile for the foreseeable future due to the cost for component parts and the uncertainty caused by tariffs. Riser demand is expected to remain strong into 2020 with lead times ranging from four to eight weeks.

Meters Sets

Demand for meter sets spiked in 2019 and has remained strong because of widespread system upgrade projects. Capacity has been an issue with manufacturers and, as a result, lead times have increased to 10 weeks for certain configurations. Manufacturers are responding by increasing CAPEX, but the increased capacity is expected to take time to impact the supply chain, and supply issues and lead times are not expected to abate into 2020.

Meters

Metering lead times have extended in the past six months as demand has increased and manufacturers have struggled to keep pace. Lead times for residential meters peaked at 30 weeks and have stayed in that range for most of 2019. However, they are expected to improve as new capacity comes online. There was a small price increase due to tariff activity, but this has since stabilized. Going into 2020, however, prices are expected to increase another 3% to 5%.

Regulators

Regulator lead times have continued to move out due to insufficient manufacturer capacity and supply disruptions that were the result of tariff implementations. Some international suppliers have started to gain market share due to domestic suppliers’ shortfalls. This new supply route has not been enough to offset the increase in lead times. Pricing is anticipated to increase 3% to 5% going into 2020.

Tracer Wire

Copper prices have shown continued volatility and general weakness through the middle of 2019. This is due to general economic uncertainty surrounding speculation regarding a possible global recession. As price softens, lead times are anticipated to remain stable at around four weeks. Demand is expected to remain strong, and industry capacity is at a stable level.