German steel stocks drop for first time since August

Steel inventories at German stockholders dropped in November month on month for the first time since August, according to data from German stockholder association BDS.

Stocks of flat steel amounted to 1.42 million mt, a 13% drop from October to November. In a year-on-year comparison, stocks were up 9.4%. In October 2018, stocks reached the highest level since June 2014. German sources said that buying was subdued during autumn as prices remained volatile during that period, with many sitting on their hands until a price direction became clearer.

Stock volumes of long steel only saw a marginal month-on-month decrease, by 1.28%, to 836,426 mt. Compared to November 2017, stocks grew 3.14%.

Stocks were expected to fall in Germany towards the end of the year amid the seasonal destocking period, although sources said that warehouse volumes remained on the high side for that time of year.

Sales volumes for both long and flat steel saw a decrease in November, indicating that demand from end-users tailed off. From October to November, flat steel sales dropped 6.59% to 558,249 mt, while long steel sales dipped 4.94% to 302,154 mt.

In year-on-year comparison, sales went down 3.2% for flat steel and 4.27% for long steel.

— Laura Varriale