The latest EUROMETAL figures on sales from European steel service centres and multi-products distributors confirm the difficulties faced by the distribution sector. While May saw a slight recovery compared with April, performance continued to be weak.
For flat steel service centres (SSC), January-May shipments were down -20.8% year-on-year. In May alone the drop was -38.5% y-o-y, after a drop in April of -51.9% y-o-y.
The slowdown in shipments significantly raised stocks at EU SSC, reaching 102 days of sales in May, compared with 70 in May 2019, Kallanish notes.
A slightly better performance was recorded for multi-products distributors, registering a fall in shipments of -13.6% y-o-y during January-May. Rebar shipments were higher than in the same period of last year, confirming the better performance of the construction sector compared with other areas of business.
Multi-products distributors also saw their stocks fall to 88 days of sales in May, compared to the 101 days of sales registered in May 2019.