Steel inventories at German stockholders up in January: BDS

German stockholders’ inventory of long and flat steel products rose in January as the sector pursued seasonal restocking, according to data from German stockholders’ association BDS published Thursday.

Long steel stocks increased 8.2% month-on-month while flat steel stocks were up by 7.4%.

Sources had consistently referred to unusually high stock levels of flat steel in January, but year on year stocks were up by just 0.3% at 1.46 million mt at the end of January.

Sales from stocks of flat steel saw a significant drop, down by 7.3% on year to 582,144 mt, and the market fundamentals last month were different than January 2018, when prices started to rise.

Price competition between stockholders and distributors was fierce in Germany last month, and this has continued in February. Steel prices have remained weak in early 2019 with end-customer demand not picking up sufficiently.

Long steel inventories also grew only slightly year on year, up by 1.1% to 875,783 mt as of January 31, while sales dropped 1.9% to 266,993 mt, having seen similar developments to the flat steel sector in January.

— Laura Varriale