Sales at EU steel distributors slow in H1, stocks rise: Eurometal

Steel sales at EU steel service and distribution businesses slowed in the first half of the year while stocks rose, particularly for strip mills’ products, European steel distributors’ lobby group Eurometal said Aug. 16.

In January-June 2022 sales volumes of steel coil and sheet products by EU steel service and distribution centers slipped by 1.1% on the year, after they inched up 0.1% in January-May.

Inventories within the distribution sector, meanwhile, rose to be the equivalent of two-and-a-half months of material,

Expressed in days of shipments, stocks of strip mills’ products within the EU steel distribution sector were at 79 days in June 2022 compared with 53 days in the same month last year.

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in both the north and south of Europe were unchanged on the day Aug. 15. Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed Northwest European HRC at Eur750/mt ($761/mt) ex-works Ruhr and South European at Eur720/mt ex-works Italy. Compared with 2021 year-end levels, North and South European prices came off by 18.6% and by 13.8% respectively, according to Platts data.

Shipments grouped as Multi-Product and Proximity Steel Stockholding Distribution by EU and UK steel distributors fell 12.8% on the year in H1, with all products declining within the category.

In June stocks rose 4.4% on the year, with all products except profiles and merchant bars recording an increase.

Compared with May 2022, June stocks fell 2.3%, despite a rise for rebars, plates and tubular products.

Eurometal’s market monitoring system tracks EU steel distribution shipments and stocks for two business segments — Flat and Multi-Product and Proximity Steel Stockholding Distribution.

— Ekaterina Bouckley