German steel inventory levels drop to almost 20-year low in December

German steel stocks reached their lowest level in almost 20 years in December, according to from German stockholder association BDS.

Flat steel stocks at stockholders in Germany dropped 13% year on year to 1.18 million mt in December, while long steel inventory levels were 2.1% lower at 792,692 mt. Stocks were last lower in 2000.

Whereas December is usually a month of destocking in Germany, data showed stocks declining steadily month by month since May.

Following persistent price drops over the course of last year, buyers were hesitant to commit to large volumes as demand was also subdued in key customer markets.

Sales volumes for longs were down 0.1% to 170,183 mt, with flat steel sales 4.4 lower to 311,041 mt.

Those low stock numbers suggested buyers will have to restock, and sources said there has been an increase in inquiries, albeit not as much as hoped.

Prices for both long and flat products have risen since the beginning of January. A German source said the higher price still need to be accepted across the entire supply chain.
— Laura Varriale