Covid-19 Impact on Metal and Mining in the Chemical and Materials Industry
- Chemical and Materials
- Jun 15, 2020
Metal and mining industry is one of those industries that have been severely impacted due to the outbreak of coronavirus globally. The prices of steel and other metals have shown different behavior due to demand and supply scenario change. In response to the spread of the virus, some governments have seized the borders and have imposed large scales quarantines and social distancing measures to minimize the spread of the virus any further. The safety and well-being of workers were rightly the top priority of any country, but now companies must consider the economic effects of the pandemic, which are now apparent.
To keep the well-being of employees in concern, companies have taken drastic measures such as asking non-operational staff to work from home to scaling back production; even many of the companies have reduced their operations and manufacturing capacities to get less impacted with the global pandemic. Such steps have resulted in reduced productivity and profits of many industries, including metals and mining precipitously. To come back on track, the companies need to make strategic choices for building their cost resilience to prepare themselves for the recovery, as well as even rethink on their new operating models
- “Companies are facing restrictions in logistics and transport, trades have been muted, prices of raw materials and steel have slid, which is causing the market’s value to decline”, by China Iron & Steel Association
- “We reviewed the situation arising in China due to the virus outbreak in the initial weeks. While we do not depend on China as a market for steel, we do source some of our consumable items from it. We are thus trying alternative supply sources in countries like Turkey and Brazil,” by TV Narendran, chief executive, Tata Steel.
IMPACT OF METAL AND MINING INDUSTRY
冠状病毒的爆发主要从2020年3月开始显现其影响。金属和采矿业的平均股价下跌了近10%，许多独立公司的市值损失了约40-50%。COVID-19的作用已经从2020年3月的中等水平转变为2020年4月的高水平，并且仍在积极增加。矿业市场的一些主要参与者，如必和必拓（BHP Billiton）、力拓（Rio Tinto）和英美资源集团（Anglo-American）迄今已报告部分停产，因此，该行业迄今为止几乎报告的产量损失超过30%。
CHANGE IN PRICES OF COMMODITIES FROM 2019 TO 2020
Source: TRADING ECONOMICS
China accounts for more than 20% share in the global supply chain of intermediate products which includes metal and metal products. Thus, the disruption which has been caused due to COVID-19 in China only is expected to repeat on the economy in various countries worldwide. It is expected that the metal industry of European Union will lose over USD 1 thousand million if China exports reduced by even 2%. The steel manufacturer in Europe are cutting production and idling factory lines in which the workers are not working as because of declining orders, a lack of available staff or as a safety precaution against coronavirus. As per the commodity consultant, James Campbell at CRU, “This is going to be a loss making year for the European steel industry.”
Due to the downfall in the metal and mineral industry, the other industries that are dependent on supply of ferroalloys and steel, such as automobiles, foundries, have been shutting down across global. As per some of the experts, it is not because of coronavirus spread that metal industry is facing dip in the demand; rather it is the quarantine or the shutdown that is eroding the demand. Ideally there are two aspects of looking into the problem of demand:
- The quarantine
Along with this, various countries are keeping track of Chinese activities that they did to bring back the industry on track. The Chinese steel consumption from January 2020 to February 2020 increased by almost 5.5%. The production in China grew by 3.1% in March and April. Also, the investment in the fixed assets has increased by 24.5% and the investment in the infrastructure has increased by 30.3%, which is even higher than the decline during the crises of 2008-2009.
The spread of coronavirus has impacted iron ore production and its pricing too. Though compared to 2019, there has been an increase of 0.5% in the pricing but it has faced a dip that no one has expected. The price in 2019 was USD 90.4/tons, and till March in 2020, it averages $83.5/tons. In terms of production, it is expected that iron ore may show a growth of 0.8% in 2020, as compared to 4.7% growth in 2019. The slow growth is due to government lockdowns around the global disruption in operations. The supply chain has also disrupted as many mines are forced to shut their operation in Canada, South Africa, Peru, and India. Till March 2020, the steel production in China is averaged 3.6% as compared to 7.7% in 2019. As China is also facing the logistic issue, which temporarily has increased China’s demand for seaborne iron ore post-April 2020.
By January, before the pandemic out broke in the U.S., the drop in coal production was forecasted to 14% in 2020. But as the coronavirus speeded in the country and the mild winter which requires less electricity at heat homes, the downfall is now expected to be more than 25% by the end of this year.
- India’s coal import in March 2020 was at 15.74 million tons which were low by 27.5% as compared to import in March 2019. Though from April 2019 to March 2020, the total coal and coke imports stood at 242.97 MT (provisional), which is 3.24% higher than from April 2018 to March 2019, the major low will be reflected in the statistics of 2020 fiscal year. As per Vinaya Varma, managing director and chief executive of mjunction services, “The lockdown imposed across the countries due to novel coronavirus pandemic has had a cascading effect on this sector. There was a significant drop in India’s coal import volumes due to both demand and supply-side factors, i.e. offtake, consumption, logistics, and dispatches.” Moreover, as per the statement by Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi, to stop the substitutable import of coal in the next three to four years may further present a dip in the coal industry.
根据印度钢铁协会（ISA）提供的统计数据，2020年印度的钢铁需求将面临7.7%的萎缩。ISA估计，到2020年2月，钢铁需求将增长5.1%，达到1.067亿吨。但在分析了COVID-19造成的影响和情况后，这一估计被修正为9370万吨。印度钢铁协会助理秘书长阿纳布·库马尔·哈兹拉（Arnab Kumar Hazra）表示，封锁将影响钢铁需求近1300万吨。
锌：Through the prices zinc rose rapidly from 2015 to 2019 will almost an increase of 32%, now facing downfall of around 18% from 2019 to 2020.
彼得IBLE STEPS TO BRING METAL AND MINING INDUSTRY BACK ON TRACK
To manage this global crisis, mining and metal leaders are working mainly on three aspects: Respond, Recover and Thrive. Some of the important immediate steps that are advised to metal and mining leaders include:
- Focus should be more on understanding the financial situation and accordingly release the cash maintain financial viability even through uncertainty.
Also to lift up themetal and mining industry，采购领导人扮演的角色也至关重要。通过制定战略选择，负责减轻供应链风险，覆盖和保护现金，以提高整体生产率的提高。首席采购官（CPOS）应与业务团队和市场参与者密切合作，以便在可以停止的情况下对开支的战略举措，这可以停滞不前，可能会缩小，必须持续什么。有人提出了一种控制塔方法，以监测和挑战所有公司的支出。
Covid-19大流行围绕地球的传播立即对全球经济产生影响，几乎都在所有industries including metal and mining. In the crises, some of the new players might get more affected than others because of the initial challenges that a business faces and then the challenges brought in by the pandemic. But, for a positive aspect, due to this pandemic, a real sense of togetherness has emerged among the players of the industry to stop the spread of this virus.
The spread of coronavirus has taught many of the players in the market how to better manage their business and always be ready for such situations too. In the mining industry, the impact has varied from commodity to commodity.
- Where gold is experiencing high price along with thermal coal and uranium, iron ore is feeling pressure to sustain as it is more dependent as consumer demand.
So, the steps to bring back the economy should be based on commodity rather than entire industry. Also the slowdown has resulted in some new opportunities and has opened doors for new ways of doing business. Since, the metal and mining are working on the same old patterns without much exploring in the ways of doing business. Now, the manufacturers and suppliers are exploring other methods such as atominization, digitization and remote controlled operations. Not only the manufacturers, but also the consumers are welcoming the online delivery of their products and have resulted in reducing human efforts.
Slowly and gradually things are coming back on track. But within few years, by the mutual efforts of the government and manufacturers, the impact can be controlled to an extent. The goal for the players remains same which is to deliver the maximum customer productivity with minimum downtime and maintenance. The impact cannot be eradicated quickly, but will prepare people to say with it with no much impact on their lives.