German crude steel output falls 24% in April as orders slump

German crude steel production plunged 24% year on year to 2.6 million mt in April as mills witnessed orders dropping as the COVID-19 pandemic reached its peak in Europe, according to the latest data by German steel federation WV Stahl.

The association said May 25 that monthly volumes in April reached the lowest point since June 2009. The numbers are also much lower than industry body worldsteel’s estimation on May 22. when worldsteel said that Germany produced 3 million mt in April.

German mills started to cut production in March due to sluggish demand and shutdowns of key customer markets such as the automotive industry.

Crude steel produced at blast furnaces dropped 27% year-on-year to 1.7 million mt in April, while volumes at electric arc furnaces — where production rates can be adjusted faster than at the traditional blast furnace — fell 16% to 824,000 mt.

Further down the production process, hot-rolled steel volumes also decreased substantially in April by 27% on-year to 2.2 million mt.

Pig iron production fell 25% to 1.6 million mt.

Industry representatives told S&P Global Platts that production numbers might see even more falls as mills took out more production lines in May.

Mills such as Thyssenkrupp said that they do not expect a significant ramp-up before summer as a global recession looms with no uptake in demand in sight yet.

Industry sources are fearing however that the cuts are not going far enough and that production is still outpacing demand. Prices for hot-rolled coil dropped more than Eur50/mt since the pandemic unfolded, to Eur420.50/mt EXW Ruhr May 22, according to the daily Platts TSI index.

— Laura Varriale