COVID-19 has hit battery makers in India. Producers including Amara Raja and Exide Batteries have curtailed production which could affect demand for lead scarp and secondary lead ingot prices when markets re-open.
Amara Raja Batteries has announced suspension of operations to adhere to the Indian government’s mandates amid a nationwide lockdown until April 14 at the minimum. The company’s essential services, however, are being undertaken with necessary approvals from the authorities.
Amara Raja is one of the largest manufacturers of lead-acid batteries for both industrial and automotive applications in the Indian storage battery industry. The company supplies automotive batteries under OE relationships to Ford India, Honda, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Ashok Leyland, and Tata Motors, Honda Motorcycles & Scooters India Private Ltd, Royal Enfield, Bajaj Auto among others.
Exide Industries has also shut its manufacturing facilities until April 14 or further notice. The company in a statement says the shutdown of operations will affect the company’s business adversely, but the extent is not ascertainable at this stage. Exide caters to various markets including automotive batteries, industrial batteries, inverter batteries, home UPS systems among others.
The lead market could face some demand push when markets reopen, despite production curtailments by battery makers and major automakers during the lockdown. These battery makers are likely to return to markets as soon as they reopen. But market participants say a supply crunch of secondary lead ingots could give prices a lift. Demand for battery scrap from secondary ingot smelters can also increase.