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VOL IX / ISSUE 11 / MAY 2021
No word seems to encapsulate well enough the horror that is unfolding across India. New Covid infections are crossing 3.7 lakh and the country is gasping from the lack of ICU and ward beds, doctors and nurses, medicines and, of course, oxygen. The most important story apart from India’s gargantuan struggle with Covid is the diversion of oxygen by the integrated steel players towards hospitals, because steel is the highest guzzler of oxygen amongst all industries. While JSW Steel is taking a cut in production, SAIL has taken a temporary shutdown of its Bhilai Steel Plant. Individual mills may take a production hit, but overall output from the integrated players is not likely to be dented more than 5-7% on an annualised basis which can be made up as the year progresses. On the other hand, the induction furnaces (IFs) and scrap yards are looking at temporary shutdowns.
However, overall, even if steel production is sacrificed, it is being done at the altar of saving lives.The government has lifted restrictions on rebar supplies by secondary producers. The stage is set for IFs to supply steel to government infra projects. Our cover story on pg. 26 explores quality issues and the secondary producers’ confidence in the same. World View on pg. 15 takes an indepth look at wordsteel’s Short Range Outlook which indicates steel demand will grow 5.8% in 2021 but for most developed economies a return to pre-pandemic levels (of steel demand) will take a few years. ExperTalk, on pg. 05 shows how the MMDR Act changes will make finished steel dearer.