India’s sponge iron production in April fell by 88.9pc to 336,000mt, while consumption fell by 92.3pc to 219,000mt from the prior year month, according to official data. Coal-based production of sponge iron was 67pc of the total and the rest was gas-based.
Production of major sponge iron manufacturers:
Tata Group’s production fell by 70.8pc, AM/NS (Essar) by 92.2pc, JSW by 52.4pc and others production fell by 96.8pc in April from the prior year month.
|Sponge iron (‘000 mt)||April 2020||April 2019||Change (%)|
Sponge iron consumption fell by 92.3pc in April as compared to the year ago. Imports during the period fell by 33.33pc to 2,000mt, while exports were down 76.2pc to 24,000mt. The total availability of sponge iron in April 2020 fell by 89.23pc to 31,500mt as compared to prior year.
Sponge iron manufacturers said, the steel industry will take time to revive from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A major concern is the availability of labour. Even though the demand for finished steel would increase, the shortage of labour will hamper production and affect raw material prices.
Mills have resumed operations at minimum capacity in May after lockdown restrictions were eased. Many casual workers have migrated back to their hometowns in different states. Despite easing of the lockdown, interstate movement of people is still not possible. In order to recall workers from their home states, companies need to apply and take the permission of local authorities, who will then arrange for their travel.