German stock levels indicate Q3 increase

Average German steel stocks of longs and flats increased to 2.5 million mt in the third quarter, compared to 2.4 million mt in the previous quarter, according to data from German stockholder association BDS.

Furthermore, September stock levels of 2.5 million mt were up from 2.2 million mt in September 2017.

While average longs stocks increased by less than 4,000 mt quarter on quarter to 886,642 mt, average stocks of flat-rolled steel gained over 130,000 mt on the quarter reach 1.59 million mt.

Average monthly sales during the quarter fell to 952,469 mt from 970,475 mt the previous quarter. Total sales in September came to 901,713 mt down from 908,323mt in the year-ago period and down from 953, 865 mt in August.

Activity in Europe’s longs and flats markets ground to a halt during the summer holiday period in late July and August and the price rally that was expected in the first half of September failed to materialize.

European flats buyers have been sitting on their hands in recent weeks awaiting first-half 2019 price guidance from large mills, with many refusing to provide 2019 price lists ahead of the biennial EuroBLECH trade fair held in Hanover, Germany last week.

Pricing in the longs market has also been largely stable during September, although market sources have said they are anticipating a price increase following the recent strengthening of scrap prices.

Erica Sesay, S&P Global PLATTS