German stocks see double-digit y-o-y rise in August

Flat and long steel stocks at German stockists and distributors in August remained well above year-ago figures, according to data from German stockholder association BDS.

Inventories of long steel amounted to 888,522 mt in August, up 11.8% year on year, while flat steel stocks increased 12.4% to 1.57 million mt.

Stocks of both long and flat steel saw some slight month-on-month drops — 2.6% for longs and 0.8% for flats — due to high figures in July as buyers restocked ahead of summer.

Sales of both long and flat steel dropped in August, mainly due to the summer holidays, which usually reduces activity. Long steel sales fell 7.4% year on year to 302,391 mt, while flat steel sales fell 1.7% to 557,073 mt.

Sales also dropped month on month, by 7.4% in long steel and 3.5% in flat steel.

According to S&P Global Platts’ latest German sentiment survey, steel distributors earlier this month predicted prices would rise in September, but the bullishness has since eased.

Market participants told Platts the market has not significantly picked up since August, contrary to expectations, in particular during the slower summer period.

While September activity saw a brief uptick at the beginning of the month, sources have seen the current market reverting to hand-to-mouth buying.

Laura Varriale, PLATTS