German stockholders surpass 1mt sales in March

Germany’s stockholding distributors started 2022 somewhat slower than early 2021, but saw a boost in March, induced by the Russian attack on Ukraine, says distributors association BDS.

“After a year that was characterised by price explosions for materials and shortages brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, most players expected a more predictable market, but they were proven wrong,” writes economist Jörg Feger.

In the first two months of this year, stockholders replenished their yards from a typically low year-end level, Kallanish learns from his analysis. Sales in January and February were somewhat lower than in the corresponding months of 2021, when the market was swinging up during the post-lockdown recovery.

Sales reached 858,000 tonnes in January and 899,000t in February, down 6% and 1% on the respective months in 2021. A surge came in March, with 1.05 million tonnes sold. The outbreak of war caused big insecurity regarding supplies from the east, and caused many buyers to order far beyond their actual needs, Feger notes.

Inventories at stockholders in the first two months were at around 75 days of sale. This was a normalisation from the low levels of 2021 – with an average of 69 days – after the typical replenishment at the beginning of the year, but also reflecting low sales in January/February. Then in March, with activity surging suddenly, inventories dropped to 63 days.

Christian Koehl Germany