German steel stocks fall further, but sales ex-stock up in June: BDS

Steel inventories at German stockholders decreased further in June, but sales volumes inched up as selling activity grew, according to data provided by German stockholder association BDS July 21.

Sales volumes at German stockholders in June rose 10.3% month on month for long products to 279,978 mt and 25.5% for flat products to 451,069 mt.

Although sales are still short of June 2019 levels (4.9% below for longs and 7.7% below for flats), the stockholding sector did see improved business as German industrial activity increased following a slow spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A restocking failed to materialize, however. Long steel stocks continued to fall in June, down 4.7% month on month at 787,301 mt, while flat steel stocks were largely stable at 1.28 million mt, down 0.3%.

In a year-on-year comparison, stock levels remain low overall, the data shows. Long steel stocks were 10.5% below June 2019 levels, while flat steel stocks were 14.2% below.

The distribution sector did report that more inquiries were coming from buyers, but most said that actual business activity remained below last year’s levels, with most companies in the steel supply chain on reduced shifts.

However, with mill prices having increased in June, buyers that needed material turned to material ex-stock.

Stockholders themselves reported that mills started to become firmer in their asking prices in June following months of declines, but stockholders refrained from buying large volumes as overall economic uncertainty persists, with a slow summer season expected.

— Laura Varriale