Rebar helps German stockists through the year

Germany’s stockholding distributors saw sales dip in the first nine months of the year, mainly for sheet, hot as well as cold rolled, according to their federation, BDS.

By contrast, sales of rebar surged year-on-year by a two-digit percentage, BDS chief economist Jörg Feger writes in his regular review of distributors’ activity. The weakness for sheet corresponds with the temporary stoppage at carmaking plants, while the flourishing rebar sales correspond with the continued boom in the country’s construction sector.

From January through September, distributors sold 7.76 million tonnes of steel, some -7% down on the first nine months of 2019, Kallanish calculates. March was still a peak month, with nearly 1 million tonnes sold, but April and May saw dips of -20% and -30% respectively. June and July brought a recovery, while August again was considered a weak month, at 815,000t.

This coincides with the trend of car production, which caught up in June/July but fell back in August, probably because of late summer holidays.

According to Feger, many customers in spring had ordered in excess of their actual demand so that their inventories were high when the lull came, and purchasing came to a halt. At the end of September, inventories at distributors stood at 2.10 million tonnes, -6% below the level of 30 September 2019.