Germany’s stockholding distributors sold 10.6 million tonnes of finished product in 2021, which was up 2.7% over the first Covid-19 year in 2020.
In particular, the second quarter saw significantly more volume than Q2 2020, which was throttled by lockdowns, says stockholders’ federation BDS. 2021 began with the relatively high nationwide inventory of 2.07mt, up 8.1% on the “extremely low level” one year earlier, says BDS head of research Jörg Feger. Throughout the first eight months of 2021, inventories were lower than in the corresponding 2020 months, and then peaked at the end of October at 2.18mt.
The increases occurred mostly for flat products, whereas the picture is mixed in the long products categories. Beams and sections saw a slight drop of 0.6% to 1.01mt, and thus remain at a level that is notably lower than in earlier years. Feger suggests German customers are buying increasingly from foreign sources with warehouses outside Germany, meaning those volumes do not enter the national statistics. Another assumption is that German stockholders process sections to finished components, which are also not included in the statistics, Kallanish understands.
Rebar saw a dip too, of 5.6% year-on-year, but still kept a decent overall level at 1.34mt.
Merchant bar and special bar qualities (SBQ) form one category, which gained 1%, totalling 933,000t. Within this category, the share of SBQ has grown quite considerably in the long term, from some 10% in the early 1990s to 40% nowadays, BDS notes.
Christian Koehl Germany