Rebar was the only product for which Germany’s stockholding distributors reported an increase in sales in 2019, amid an overall decline in shipments, Kallanish learns from distributors’ federation BDS.
Sales of rebar totalled 1.31 million tonnes throughout the year, and by 31 December inventories remained unusually well-filled, at 245,000 tonnes, 17.5% higher than at end-2018.
While the good rebar performance was related to Germany’s construction boom, mainly in residential construction, sales of other products typically used in construction declined. Beams and sections sales, for example, dipped by -5.2% to 1.03mt, as did plate, which fell by as much as -13% to 932,000t.
BDS chief economist Jörg Feger believes actual demand did not fall as much as the figures suggest, but that supply sources alternated. “We assume that larger tonnages were sold from [port] warehouses abroad into Germany,” meaning they did not appear in BDS statistics.
He assumes the same effect for hot rolled strip/sheet, whose sales fell by -7% in 2019 to 1.1mt after two years of increase. The dip was even more pronounced for cold rolled strip, which fell by -9% to 1.27mt. Deliveries of the largest single product group, galvanized strip, fell by only -0.8% to 2.9mt. However, restocking remined moderate, as by the end of the year inventories were -12.5% lower than at end-2018.