European steel stock levels drop in May

Steel shipments from European service centers and stockholders were lower in May year on year, the European Federation of Steel, Tubes and Metals Distribution & Trade (EUROMETAL) said Tuesday.

Shipments from flat steel service centers fell 6.3%, meaning the January-May total was down 1.3% versus the the same period last year.

EUROMETAL said the fall followed periods of “some overstocking,” primarily in coated products and that stocks were now closer to “normal” levels.

Sources said hand-to-mouth buying has prevailed since spring amid import uncertainty and a heavy restocking phase at the beginning of the year.

While the association does not specify volumes, EUROMETAL releases an index for stock levels with the average of 2015 equivalent to 100.

On that basis, stock levels at European flat steel distribution centers went down from 119 in May last year to 114 this May.

Shipments at multi-product distributors dipped 2% year on year in May but they were up 0.2% in the first five months of the year.

The stock volumes index was at 101 in May, compared with 103 last year.

Laura Varriale, SBB Daily Briefing