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Despite COVID-19 Nightmare, India’s Steel Dream Intact The RBI’s recently-released Annual Report for 2019-20 says high frequency indicators that have arrived so far point to a retrenchment in activity unprecedented in history. The upticks visible in May and June after the lockdown was eased in parts of the country, appear to have lost strength in July and August, mainly due to re-imposition or stricter imposition of lockdowns, suggesting that contraction in economic activity will likely prolong into Q2. An assessment of aggregate demand during the year so far suggests that the shock to consumption is severe, and it will take time to regain the pre-COVID-19 momentum. Supply chains and production structures are in disarray and commodity prices, especially those of metals, are reflecting the supply shock. However, despite these dour prognostications, our Cover Story, on pg. 34, reinforces the belief that India’s steel dream is still intact. Peeyush Gupta, Vice President, Steel (Marketing & Sales), Tata Steel, expects a recovery from April, 2021, although the pandemic has pushed back domestic demand by about a year. Steel exports may see a drop in the coming months due to rising domestic demand. Industry tracks the story on pg. 22 Intervista, on pg. 06, turns the spotlight on Vijay Sharma, Director, JSL, who is upbeat that demand for stainless steel will recover from Q3. In Expertalk, on pg. 30, JSPL MD V.R. Sharma advises that India must be ready for big-ticket reforms in the coming years. In Guest Column, on pg. 57, Sanchit Datta, Senior Consulting Analyst, Metals & Minerals Practice, Frost & Sullivan, reveals that despite aluminum's non-corrosive nature, weight and elasticity, steel is still the primary metal used in the automotive industry, due to its strength and cost competitiveness. Plus, we focus on a lot more. Enjoy the read!

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