Owing to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, a drastic decline in the economy of low and middle-income countries is expected due to loss of income, the shutdown of businesses, human and goods movement restrictions imposed by governments, de-globalization, and breakdown of markets because of both demand shocks and supply constraints. The COVID-19 has a variable impact in different countries depending on their cultural norms, mitigation efforts, and health infrastructure. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted almost all industries, including the global ferrosilicon market. Amidst the lockdown, the production activities of ferrosilicon have been stopped partially or entirely in some regions. This is due to the unavailability of raw materials in the market and disturbance in the supply chain. The distribution channels of ferrosilicon, which worked offline, were fully closed during the lockdown. This resulted in reduced sales volumes and overall revenue of the ferrosilicon market. However, the demand is estimated to increase post-lockdown as distribution channels begin operations and the supply chain recovers.
AFTERMATH OF COVID-19 AND GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES TO BOOST THE GLOBAL Ferrosilicon market
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the demand for ferrosilicon. COVID-19 has led to disruptions in the supply chain. For instance, the lockdowns in China contributed to a low output of alloys as China is the main producer and supplier for the global ferrosilicon market. Also, the supply chain has been affected by social distancing rules, labor shortages due to sickness, and lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus. Bottlenecks in transport and logistics have disrupted the movement of products along supply chains.
Moreover, the unlocking of the situation and opening boundaries by various nations have regulated the supply of raw materials. Various governments are taking initiatives to regulate the supply of raw materials. Therefore, in the post-lockdown period, the demand for ferrosilicon will increase moderately due to increasing growth in the steel industry.
Thus, due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments from various countries are taking strategic initiatives for the safety of people.
The ferrosilicon market is gaining popularity across various industrial sectors all over the global region. Since the lockdown, the ferrosilicon manufacturers must follow a series of mandates and procedures to battle the crisis and keep a healthy workspace environment. Ferrosilicon production and distribution can only be done with personal presence. It is very difficult to obtain an online distribution or working network for the ferrosilicon market as end consumers of ferrosilicon, mainly steel producers, also require constant communication with ferrosilicon manufacturers to notify their exact requirements and decide the terms and details of the contracts or agreements. The manufacturers offer attractive packages to combat the current situation and gain a competitive market share. Key market manufacturers adopt various marketing strategies, such as product innovation, regional expansion, and new product development, to sustain the competitive market and meet the changing consumer trends. Adopting such strategic marketing policies by various competitors will help them gain competitive market share in the post-COVID-19 era.
Thus, due to many adverse effects of COVID-19, the key players of the ferrosilicon market have taken many strategic decisions to get their revenue on track.
Impact on Price
The COVID-19 has impacted the global economy growth terribly. Many organizations remained shut while others scaled down their operations or put their expansion plans on hold as they survived the unpredictable crisis. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in nationwide lockdowns, and various stringent regulations on border closing were imposed by the government of nations across the globe, which resulted in the spike in the prices of ferrosilicon.
The ferrosilicon prices have increased during the first wave of COVID-19 as the lockdowns in China reduced the exports and hampered shipments of Chinese raw materials for furnaces. The squeeze to supply caused an increase in prices for ferrosilicon. But after the first wave of COVID-19, supply started to ease as China came out of lockdown. By this time, the focus of the pandemic had shifted to other regions. Therefore, there is less demand for ferrosilicon, which causes a reduction in prices.
Impact On Demand
The COVID-19 has negatively impacted ferrosilicon demand due to disturbance in the supply chain and nationwide lockdowns. The rapid industrialization and growing demand for electronics have increased the use of ferrosilicon in various applications. However, COVID-19 has led to a slowdown in the construction, automotive, and shipbuilding activities, which can hamper the growth of the global ferrosilicon market.
The demand for ferrosilicon is directly proportional to the demand for steel, as more than 80% of ferrosilicon is consumed in iron and steel production. The COVID-19 economic crisis is leading to a sharp drop in steel demand. It is due to both demand and supply shock in the steel industry
Thus, disturbance in the supply chain and less demand for steel from various industries may have negatively impacted the demand for ferrosilicon in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact on Supply Chain
The COVID-19 pandemic has highly disrupted the supply chain of raw materials used to manufacture ferrosilicon. It was attributed to the lack of resources and transportation, which led to lower access, delayed stock, and supplies of raw materials products. Additionally, many governments restricted the movement of goods across the countries, and the entire supply chain was distorted. Due to the disrupted supply chain, transportation of raw materials has been interrupted, stalling production. Similarly, inflated prices and halt on ferrosilicon production have resulted in the unmet demands for ferrosilicon in various end-users such as the steel industry, semiconductors, metallurgy, and other industries.
In addition, the new variant of COVID-19 ‘Omicron’ is spreading fast across the world, which has again prompted governments around the globe to re-impose travel restrictions which will gradually disturb the supply chain again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the population and economy. It is expected to hurt the global ferrosilicon market due to disturbance in the supply chain. Governments in many hard-hit countries around the globe have imposed nationwide lockdowns and travel restrictions to avoid further virus infection of COVID-19, which creates several difficulties across the supply chain in the global ferrosilicon market. The market players have taken many strategies to address this uncertain period to get their revenues on track. In addition, less demand for steel restraining the construction industry may also harm the global ferrosilicon market. The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted various facets of the ferrosilicon industry.