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2020 Vision 2020! Phew, what a year in the history of civilisation. The jury is still out on whether it is possibly the greatest baddie or our forefathers had seen even worse. But, the world, on its part, has witnessed unprecedented times, when survival, in more ways than one, has become the greatest challenge. The year started on a catastrophic note with the Australian bush fires still raging and killing or dislocating close to 300 crore animals. This was swiftly followed by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic’s entry that has seen 61 million cases worldwide and 1.43 million deaths at the time of writing this edit. Economies collapsed and are still struggling. Job losses became rampant. Daily wage earners starved. The colossal reverse migration laid bare the plight of India’s have-nots. Natural calamities left a trail of devastation. Work-from-home, sanitisers and masks became the new normal. Lockdowns, virus, pandemic, vaccines became the watchwords. The steel industry too was impacted badly with several user industries coming to a halt. The secondary sector had to almost down shutters in the initial stages. Overall, steel production reduced by a whopping 65% while mills survived on exports. With the lifting of the lockdown, economic activity started resuming slowly with the second quarter seeing unprecedented hike in raw material and product prices. The third quarter saw a muted festive season with auto and white goods sales going northwards but on a low base. However, the scars of the ongoing pandemic will not heal swiftly what with both production and consumption dented badly. It could take one full year for the industry to recover to the levels seen in 2018-19. This special issue of Steel360 takes a look back at the year that was. Steel360 wishes its readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2021.

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