German crude steel production remains depressed

German mills produced 3.1 million tonnes of crude steel in January, -9.8% less than in January 2019, Kallanish learns from steel federation Wirtschaftsvereinigung (WV) Stahl. This is higher than the estimated figure given by worldsteel in its own monthly report (see separate article).

The year-on-year difference was much more pronounced at integrated mills, which produced -14.0% less, while output at EAF mills fell by only -2%. This is partly attributable to the slackening demand from the automotive industry, which caused ArcelorMittal for example to idle one blast furnace in Bremen.

By comparison, the mostly EAF-fed construction industry continues to flourish in Germany. The difference in output of electrically-melted steel is also minimal because EAF mills tend to close down for maintenance every winter. The fall in EAF production had been more pronounced in December, having fallen by -15.1%. This suggests that more closures occurred in December 2019 than in December 2018. The overall fall in output at EAF mills is also attributable to lower demand for SBQ products from automotive and mechanical engineering, which are mainy produced using this route.