German steel stocks rise to 12-month high: BDS data

German steel inventory levels for long and flat steel at stockholders grew to the highest level since August 2020 as stocks for both product groups increased in September, according to data provided by German stockholder association BDS Oct. 25.

Flat steel stocks rose for the third consecutive month to 1.29 million mt to the highest level since August 2020. The month-on-month change stood at 2.5%, while the year-on-year change was slightly down 0.73%.

Stocks for long steel increased to 804,792 mt, up 2.1% month on month and 3.6% year on year.

The average for third-quarter 2021 was at 1.24 million mt for flat steel and 794,857 mt for long steel, showing that, despite recent restocking, stock levels remain at low levels compared with inventories generally seen pre-pandemic.

Sales of both product groups rose as well in September after a sluggish August. Flat steel sales increased to 7.2% month on month to 528,408 mt, down 2.6% year on year.

Sales of rebar increased 2.4% month on month to 268,828 mt, seeing a year on year 9.98% decrease.

September 2020 was marked by a rapid comeback of demand following months of pandemic-related shutdowns and a depressed market.

Though sources said that in September this year the usual end-of-summer demand pickup did not happen, particularly for flat steel, the figures for September show that there has been a considerable increase in sales volumes for stockholders.

What had been on the downside were steel prices during that month. The daily Platts hot-rolled coil EXW Ruhr assessment dropped Eur75/mt over the course of that month, while the weekly rebar North European DDP assessment fell Eur45/mt to Eur790/mt Sept. 29. Rebar prices have since been volatile but have recovered to Eur815/mt DDP Northwest Europe Oct. 13.

The hot-rolled coil assessment, however, continued its downward trend and fell to Eur1,022/mt EXW Ruhr Oct. 22.

— Laura Varriale