Shares of metal companies reeled under severe pressure on Monday with the S&P BSE Metal index (closed at 15,217.88; -4.46%) hitting a 15-month low amid demand slowdown concerns. Tata Steel, Hindalco Industries, Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL), NMDC and Vedanta have shed up to 35 % in the past one month, as compared to 5 % decline in the S&P BSE Sensex.
At 11:13 AM, the S&P BSE Metal index, the top sectoral loser among indices, was down 5 % as compared to 0.10 % rise in the benchmark Sensex index. The metal index hit an intra-day low of 15,140.94 today, its lowest level since April 2021. In the past one month, the index has slipped 21 %, data shows.
The global economy had entered 2022 on a weaker footing. As the new Omicron Covid-19 variant spreaded, countries reimposed mobility restrictions. Moreover, rising energy prices and supply disruptions resulted in higher and more broad-based inflation than anticipated, notably in the United States and many emerging market and developing economies.
According to analysts, the increased risks of a global growth slowdown, and a persistently higher inflation have acted as major blows to demand outlook. The aggressive stance of the US Fed has triggered the fear of recession, which is cascading to markets, including commodities, across the globe.
For 2022, the outlook is highly uncertain due to the war in the Ukraine. The war in the Ukraine has a major impact on the European Union (EU) due to its reliance on Russian energy and its geographic proximity to the conflict area. There are further downside risks from Covid virus infections and rising interest rates. The World Steel Association predicts that steel demand will increase 0.4 % globally. Demand in the EU is expected to decline by -1.3 %, Tata Steel said.