Construction lifts German stockholders’ rebar sales amid Covid-19

While sales of most steel products from stockholding distributors went down in the crisis year 2020, deliveries of rebar to the construction industry in fact rose in absolute terms.

Compared with 2019, rebar sales went up by 8.4% to 1.42 million tonnes, continuing a long-term upward trend on the back of flourishing construction activity, Kallanish learns from the annual review of distributors’ federation BDS.

The trend worked the other way for all other bar products taken together. Tonnage here declined over the past decade, with the latest year-on-year dip bringing the total tonnage in 2020 to 923,000t. The problem with this figure is that it covers merchant bar as well as special bar qualities (SBQ) – two main groups with considerably different application and customer sectors. While merchant bar goes to construction and mechanical engineering at equal shares of about 29%, nearly 50% of SBQ, like engineering or tool steels, is sold to mechanical engineering.

BDS previously announced plans to give SBQ separate statistics. The federation points out that the share of SBQ in total steel sales has risen considerably, from 16% at the beginning of the 1990s to some 40% now.

Sections and wide flange beams, another product group typically used in construction, reported a dip, albeit a small one, of 1.7% to 1.02mt. Here, figures have declined slightly but gradually over the past year. BDS suspects that imports have gone up quite a bit, and taken share from German distributors. A similar explanation applies to most flat products (see separate story).

Christian Koehl Germany