German steel distributors’ March sales fall on year, while stocks remain steady: BDS

Steel product sales in the German distribution and stockholding system in March totaled 817,467 mt, down 17.8% year on year and down 3.1% month on month, according to data from steel stockholders’ association BDS released April 22.

Monthly sales of long products totaled 254,763 mt, down 7.6% year on year, but up 5.8% month on month, marking increased demand in the construction sectors on seasonal effect.

March sales of flats products stood at 496,756 mt, down by 23.1% year on year and 6.8% month on month confirming the weak economy data.

Other steel product sales totaled 65,948 mt, down 8.8% compared with the same period a year ago and 6.4% lower on the month.

Stocks steady on year

Total steel stocks in Germany in March were mostly stable compared with a year ago at 1.979 million mt, up 0.2% year on year, but down 1.3% month on month, according to the BDS data.

Stocks for the flat steel products were at 1.29 million mt in March, up 8.9% year on year and down by 0.7% month on month.

Stocks of steel long products in March fell 14.1% year on year and 2.6% month on month to 646,239 mt.

Others stocks stood at 44,353 mt in March, down 0.4% from February, but up 7.9% compared with March 2023.

German economic sentiment

Germany’s manufacturing sector ended the year’s opening quarter still mired in contraction territory, the latest HCOB PMI survey conducted by S&P Global showed.

HCOB Germany Manufacturing PMI was at 41.9 point in March compared with February’s 42.5, marking a five-month low.

March’s survey showed evidence of spare capacity at factories as goods producers reported a rapid decline in backlogs of work and further job losses. Although the rate of decline in buying levels eased since February, it remained quicker than that of output as companies looked to reduce stocks of purchases. The latest decline in pre-production inventories, which was the 14th in as many months, was in fact the sharpest seen since October last year.

Germany’s service sector ended the first quarter on more stable footing, with companies growing increasingly optimistic about the outlook, according to the latest HCOB PMI survey compiled by S&P Global.

The HCOB Germany Services PMI Business Activity Index came in at 50.1 in March, up from 48.3 in February and registering broadly in line with — but crucially just above the 50.0 point threshold. The result served to end a five-month sequence of contraction in activity, registering the six-month high level.

During the month of March, N.EU HRC prices moved from Eur715/mt March 1 to Eur665/mt March 28, according to Platts assessment. Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur625/mt ($666.56/mt) ex-works Ruhr April 19.

Annalisa Villa