German steel stockholders saw limited restocking in January: BDS

German stockholders have increased their stocks for long and flat products in January, but data shows that restocking activity was slow, according to latest figures from German stockholders association BDS.

Flat steel stocks for January dropped 15.6% year on year to 1.2 million mt, seeing only a 4.1% increase in stocks from December 2019.

Long product stocks stood at 825,014 mt in January, 5.8% lower compared to the same month last year, but 4.1% higher from December 2019.

Sources said that restocking activity remained limited in January due to uncertainty over the sustainability of price rises and subdued demand in some end-customer markets.

“We are trying to sell what we can but wouldn’t be able to do any big projects because of low stocks,” said a German source in the distribution sector.

“Stocks are low because many people didn’t buy a lot. There are lots of sales ex-stock,” said the source.

Sales volumes at stockholders grew 5.3% year on year to 281,273 mt in January for long products and 2.5% for flat steel to 597,073 mt. Both product groups saw significant jumps in sales volumes month on month — at 65.2% for longs and 91.9% for flats.

Sources, however, said that it would still be difficult to lift prices ex-stock as end-buyers remain hesitant to price increases making the situation difficult for stockholders as European producers have lifted prices since January.

— Laura Varriale