India’s steel demand may slump by 18 per cent this year

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Published: June 5, 2020 6:52 AM

India has implemented the most stringent nationwide lockdown measures in the world, bringing industrial operations to a standstill.

Global demand for steel will increase by 3.8% to 1,717 MT.

World Steel Association (WSA) on Thursday said India’s steel demand may fall by a steep 18% to 83.3 million tonne (MT) in 2020 from 101.5 MT in 2019. However, demand will make a smart 15% recovery in 2021 to 95.8 MT. Announcing its short range outlook for 2020 and 2021, WSA said globally demand will fall by an average of 6.4% in 2020 to 1,654 MT due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, in 2021, global demand for steel will increase by 3.8% to 1,717 MT.

“This year’s reduction in global steel demand will be mitigated by an expected faster recovery in China than in the rest of the world. The forecast assumes that most countries’ lockdown measures continue to be eased during June and July, with social distancing controls remaining in place, and that the major steelmaking economies do not suffer from substantial secondary waves of the pandemic,” the association said.

India has implemented the most stringent nationwide lockdown measures in the world, bringing industrial operations to a standstill. Construction activity was halted entirely at the end of March, and recovery is expected to remain slow due to the slow return of labour. Supply chain disruption coupled with slower demand recovery will hit the automotive sector hard. The machinery sector is expected to see a continued decline, with weak private investment and supply chain disruption, it said.

“Supported by government stimulus, recovery in construction will be led by infrastructure investment such as railways. The government’s support to rural income, as well as expected consumption related to the upcoming festive season, will help a substantial recovery of demand for consumption-driven manufacturing goods in the second half,” WSA said.

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