India’s Three-Week Lockdown Ripples Through Metal Sector
A worker removes aluminum dross from a furnace at a Sargam Metals Ltd. aluminum recycling facility in Chennai, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

India’s Three-Week Lockdown Ripples Through Metal Sector

(Bloomberg) -- The fallout from India’s decision to lock down the country for three weeks to curb the spread of coronavirus is reverberating through the country’s metals industry, with some producers curtailing operations and others continuing with reduced manpower.

Hindalco Industries Ltd., the biggest copper producer and second-largest aluminum maker, said Wednesday it is shutting or scaling down its operations in line with government directives. National Aluminium Co. will remain operational, but with fewer workers, according to a company official.

Meanwhile, steel mills across the country continue to run. The government exempted continuous process operations from the lockdown, which starts Wednesday, provided they get a certificate from the district magistrate.

“Shutting and restarting a blast furnace takes time and is a costly affair. So, many players do not want to shut them and that is what had happened in China recently,” said Jayanta Roy, senior vice president at ICRA Ltd. “Demand is going to take a huge knock in the next three weeks and inventories will rise if supply curtailments do not happen.”

Here’s how some Indian metal companies are being affected by the pandemic:

HindalcoAluminum, copperSome operations have been shut or scaled down. The company’s U.S. unit Novelis has also shuttered some plants due to temporary closures by automakers.
National Aluminium Co.AluminumCompany’s plants are operational but with reduced manpower. Offices have been shut.
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.SteelPlants are operational, with the situation being monitored closely, according to a company official. Movement of some raw materials may be impacted.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Also read: India Shutdown Hits Medical Supply Deliveries Key in Virus Fight

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