JSW Steel manufactured 0.56 million tonnes of crude steel in April, roughly 60 percent lower year-on-year, with capacity utilization falling 38 percent in the first full month of the Covid-19 lockdown. JSW Steel is the first among major steel producers in India to announce monthly output figures.
India's second-largest private steelmaker manufactured 0.34 million tonnes of flat steel products used to construct automobiles and heavy machinery, compared to 0.95 million tonnes in the previous year. Production of long steel, used in construction and infrastructure, dropped to 0.09 million tonnes in April from 0.34 million tonnes a year earlier.
Despite steel production classified as an essential service and a continuous process industry that was allowed to operate through a lockdown, production collapsed as domestic demand for steel vanished.
"The company, recognizing the formidable challenges of disrupted supply chains, the unparalleled decline in demand, the volatility in the smooth transport of inbound and outbound goods across containment zones throughout the country, and the shortage of credit flow to the industry, has undertaken a range of measures to reduce the fixed cost base, improve efficiency, and identify new markets and customers to remain competitive," the company said in a press release.
It is reported on 16 April, the Indian steel industry was reeling under the side-effects of an extended national lockdown and a near-complete disappearance of demand. Last month, JSW Steel shut its blast furnace in Dolvi, Maharashtra, and cut down the production of crude steel at its mother plant in Vijayanagar, Karnataka, like other major steel producers in the country. Given the downturn in the economy as a consequence of the lockdown, industry analysts anticipate steel demand to contract at least 14-17 percent in FY21 over the previous year.