Flat rolled steel

This indicator decreased by 3.4% y/y

Sales of German steel distributors in January this year increased by 73.7% compared to December 2023, reaching 807.92 thousand tons. This was reported by the German Steel Industry Shareholders Association BDS, S&P Global reports.

However, compared to January 2023, sales decreased by 3.4%. They exceeded the average monthly figure for 2023 by 2.8%, but remained 10% lower than 900.3 thousand tons per month in 2014-2021.

Flat products accounted for 535.2 thousand tons, or two-thirds of total steel sales in January 2024. Sales in this category of steel products increased by 85% month-on-month in the period under review and remained generally stable compared to January 2023.

In January, German distributors sold 203.9 thousand tons of long products, up 42% month-on-month but down 11% y/y.

According to January data, there is a clear trend towards selling off stocks in the German steel distribution network. Their level dropped to less than 2.5 months of sales from 4 months in December.

In January 2024, inventory levels hovered around 1.9 million tons, equivalent to about 70 days of sales. This is a decrease from 75 and 77 days seen in 2023 and 2014-2022, respectively.

These figures reflect the cautious approach of European coil buyers. They are limiting purchases and avoiding restocking amid expectations of lower prices and weaker demand from the construction and agricultural sectors in the second quarter.

As GMK Center reported earlier, German steelmakers reduced steel production by 3.9% in 2023 compared to 2022, to 35.44 million tons. Last year, the country’s rolled steel output amounted to 30.64 million tons, down 3.6% from 2022.