German construction fears slowdown on materials shortage, cost

Germany’s construction industry has expressed some concern that material shortages and price surges will cause interruptions to ongoing projects and hamper new projects.

According to industry federation Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie, companies are mostly concerned about steel and bitumen. But supply of wood and insulation materials has become critical, too, according to a rebar bending firm in central Germany. It notes that rebar in coils and wire mesh, especially, are scarce, and that prices for all products could inch up in May.

In fact, other distributors have already told Kallanish about hike attempts by mills that would lift the base price for rebar to €420-430/tonne ($507-519). Adding the size extra of €265, this could mean prices of slightly below €700/t delivered. Coils will fetch €20-30 more than bars, and base prices for wire mesh recently reached €540/t, with lead times of 5-6 weeks.

One western-based manager bemoans the missing opportunities of importing material from abroad, especially for coil and wire mesh. “It does not work for logistical reasons,” he explains. “You may get some smaller volumes by truck from Eastern Europe, but overseas transports by ship don’t work.”

Against this background, it is interesting to note that Kardemir is investing with the clear intention to produce more compact coils specifically for transport and container shipping. The Turkish steelmaker recently placed an order with SMS for key components of its wire rod mill. A new ring distribution system will serve to improve the packing density, with the outside diameter of the coils reduced from 1,080 to 1,040mm.

Christian Koehl Germany