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Germany: May steel sales, stocks decline on year amid economic slowdown

Sales Overview

In May, the German steel market experienced a downturn in sales across various product categories compared to both the previous month and the same period last year. This decline is reflective of the ongoing economic slowdown and reduced demand.

  • Total Sales:
    • 770,914 metric tons (mt), a decrease of 4% year on year and 8.9% from April.
  • Flat Products:
    • 469,922 mt, down 6.5% year on year and 8.6% from April.
  • Long Products:
    • 238,557 mt, a marginal decline of 0.3% year on year and 7.4% from April.
  • Other Products:
    • 62,435 mt, a slight increase of 2.2% year on year but down 16.4% from April.

Stock Overview

Stock levels of steel products also saw reductions, suggesting that the distribution and stockholding system is adjusting to the lower sales volumes.

  • Total Stocks:
    • 1.92 million mt, down 3.7% year on year and 5% from April.
  • Flat Stocks:
    • 1.24 million mt, a rise of 2.3% year on year but a decrease of 5.3% from April.
  • Long Products:
    • 633,138 mt, a significant drop of 13.2% year on year and 4.2% from April.
  • Other Products:
    • 42,589 mt, down 9.7% year on year and 7.4% from April.

Broader Context

Germany, being the largest steel producer in Europe with a total production of 35.4 million mt in 2023, showed signs of market weakness. The decline in steel output in May, by 1.9% year on year to 3.2 million mt, further indicates the economic challenges facing the industry. Despite this, there was a modest increase in production during the first five months of the year:

  • January-May Production:
    • 16.2 million mt, up 3.7% year on year.

Market Prices

The market price for hot rolled coil, a benchmark product, also reflected the weak demand:

  • Northwest Europe Hot Rolled Coil Price:
    • €630/mt ($674.45/mt) ex-works Ruhr as of June 25, down €5 from the previous day.


The German steel market is facing significant challenges with declining sales and stocks across most categories. The economic slowdown is having a clear impact, resulting in reduced demand and lower prices for steel products. This situation necessitates strategic adjustments from producers and distributors to navigate the downturn effectively.

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