German flat, long steel stocks decline in June

Steel inventories at German stockholders declined in June for both flat and long steel, according to data from German steel stockholder association BDS.

Average flat steel stocks in June fell 1.8% month on month to 1.08 million mt, following a brief uptick in May. Year on year, flat steel stocks declined 18.6%.

Long steel stocks in June fell 4.6% compared to the previous month to 771,477 mt and were 2% lower year on year.

Sales for both product types increased in June. Average flat steel sales grew 8.9% on the month and 18% on the year to 532,288 mt. Demand was still lagging in June 2020 due to the first wave of the pandemic.

Sales for long steel were up 15.7% on the month in June to 323,824 mt, rising 8.9% on the year.

S&P Global Platts monthly German sentiment survey conducted at the beginning of July showed the short-term expectation for inventories stable at an index of 50. However, this was up almost 20 points from the June index at 30, suggesting market participants turned more bullish from June to July for stock levels as more imports become available over the summer.

This is expected to remain short-lived as bullish sentiment and short supply are likely to return following the summer slump in activity.

Overall activity has been low over the past two weeks in the market due to the summer slowdown. Sources in the distribution sector said that fewer inquiries for material were intensified by the recent plateau in prices, especially for flat steel and customers waiting for future price direction in the spot market.

— Laura Varriale