German steel stockholders lift sales gently in 2018

Germany’s stockholding distributors sold 11.2 million tonnes of products in 2018, an increase of 1.4% over 2017, according to their federation BDS.

For Germany’s stockholders, 2018 was by and large a “… decent” year, with sales in most months above the corresponding months in 2017, BDS says. The increase in pipes sales was considerably higher, BDS notes, but does reveal any further information by product type,Kallanish notes.

The year started well, with January sales at 997,000 tonnes, the highest in six years. The trend continued, at a slightly reduced pace, into summer until September, which was considered “… disappointing” with sales at 902,000t. This however was balanced by an exceptionally strong October with 1.01 million tonnes sold. November and December were again reasonable, but altogether quieter, especially since December had many non-working days last year, the federation adds.

With regard to inventories, the tonnage at the end of the year stood at 2.22mt, after having been 2.12mt at the end of 2017. A preliminary high was registered at the end of July with 2.56mt. Stock levels throughout the year averaged 83 days of sales.

BDS notes that price surges were seen at the beginning of the year and in summer, while in the final quarter trends diverged. However, prices at the end of 2018 for almost all products were higher than one year earlier.