German stockholders return to ‘normality’ in third quarter

For Germany’s stockholding distributors, “normality kicked in” going towards September, their association, BDS, states in its review of the first nine months of the year.

By September, members had caught up from a low level of inventories throughout the entire first half-year, which was marked by good sales. A look at inventories suggests sales could have been even higher if supplies of steel had been too. This applies especially to all strip products, says BDS head of research Jörg Feger.

At the end of June, inventories totalled 1.92 million tonnes, 10% lower than one year earlier. September was then the first month in which the level was up on the corresponding time in 2020, by 3% at 2.16mt.

Sales in the third quarter came to 2.63mt, which was only slightly more than in Q3 2020. From January through September, sales totalled 8.24mt. Expressed in days of shipments, stocks during the first half were less than 60 days. By September, they stood at 72, which BDS considers still low.

Since then, the picture has apparently changed, with particularly high inventories observed at flat steel service centres, Kallanish hears from market sources. In the latest figures by EUROMETAL, the European stockholders association, strip mill products shipments fell 12% in October year-on-year. The same drop occurred in the long products segment. Stock volumes of long and other products stood at 79 days of shipments in October, compared with 66 days in October 2020, EUROMETAL says.

Christian Koehl Germany