German steel processor sentiment worse than 2008-09: WSM

Sentiment in the German steel and metal processing industry is currently worse than during the financial crisis of 2008-09, with business activity expected to further deteriorate, German steel and metals processing association WSM said Tuesday.

According to the survey, the industry is not seeing improving indicators for the next six months.

“That the expectation for the coming half of the year is so pessimistic is pointing toward a prolonged weak period for the industry,” Christian Vietmeyer, managing director at WSM said.

Earlier this month WSM said that around 90% of the processing industry would be in short-time working, a scheme that entails reduced shift hours and financial support from the German government.

Although lockdown restrictions have gradually eased in Germany, with end-customer markets such as the automotive industry slowly ramping up production again, weak order books remain persistent.

German steel mills also continue with production curtailments. ArcelorMittal Germany and Stahl Holding Saar — the parent company of Saarstahl and Dillinger — confirmed Tuesday to S&P Global Platts that current cuts would remain in place, while Thyssenkrupp also said restrictions from crude steel to finished steel production would continue.

Salzgitter announced last week that cuts would extend into May until the economic situation improves.

German steel association WV Stahl said last week that German crude steel production in March dropped 10% year on year to 3.29 million mt.

IHS Markit data showed that the decline in business activity across Germany deepened in April, with both services and manufacturing seeing record output declines as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

— Laura Varriale