German October steel sales down, stocks up on weak automotive demand: BDS

German steel product sales resumed a downwards trajectory in October after a September upturn, and overall inventory levels have continued to rise in recent months, German steel stockholders’ association BDS reported Nov. 24.

Overall sales in the month of October were 865,119 mt, down 2.4% from September’s 886,742 mt, with falls noted in both long and flat product categories as well as other product types, BDS said. Sales were as much as 11.7% lower than the 979,598 mt total of October 2020, which had been a strong month, it said.

“Production decline in automotive has an effect on the sales as we see in the figures for flat products,“ a BDS official commented.

The automotive sector is typically the second biggest steel consuming sector. Automotive production has been impacted throughout Europe in recent months by a shortage of semiconductors and in recent weeks by a tightness of magnesium for lightweight autoparts due to a fall in Chinese production and exports, leading to slower steel orders.

Flat products sales fell notably to 510,765 mt in October, down 3.3% from September; while long products sales fell proportionally less, by 0.5% to 267,475 mt.

Stocks continue to inch up

German steel products stocks reached 2.18 million mt in October – their highest for nearly two years, the BDS data showed. The overall stocks were 1.1% higher than the 2.16 million mt of September and 3.2% higher than the 2.12 million mt of October 2020.

“Stocks have risen in the last couple of months but are still on a moderate level,“ the BDS official said.

Inventories varied according to product in October, with flat products stocks growing as much as 4% in the month to the end of October, reaching 1.34 million mt, while long products stocks fell 3% from September to 779,977 mt, the BDS data showed.

— Diana Kinch