Mining And Construction Equipment Sector To See Over 20 Percent Volume Decline In 2020: ICRA

The domestic mining and construction equipment (MCE) sector is likely to see a volume decline of over 20 percent in calendar year (CY) 2020 on account of loss of sales in April and May, and an overall weakness in the economy, ICRA said in a report.

The domestic credit rating agency said it continues to maintain negative outlook for the domestic MCE sector based on the prevailing overall scenario.

“The MCE industry is expected to suffer a volume decline of over 20 percent in CY20, due to two months of lost sales and an overall weakness in the economy,” ICRA said in a statement.

After three strong years and industry volume peaking at about 94,000 units, CY2019 saw industry volume fall by 16 percent, it said.

Plagued by tight liquidity conditions, delayed payment to contractors and an overall slowdown in government spend on infrastructure activity, MCE volume has witnessed a sharp contraction since December 2018.

“Partial recovery was visible from December’19 with some relief on payments and government spending, however, the lockdown from March’20 disrupted this growth momentum,” it said.

During the first quarter of 2020, the industry reported over 23 percent volume decline, followed by 50 percent decline in March.

The same continued to contract in April and May too, before reporting a surprising pick-up in June, it said.

Typically, CE demand is strongly correlated to economic activity and government (and private) investments in infrastructure and other long-term fixed assets, the rating agency said.

“In the current context, GDP growth has slid to a 44-quarter low of 3.1 percent in Q4 FY20 with onset of lockdown. Domestic steel consumption and cement production has witnessed de-growth…,” ICRA said.

“The contraction in Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in the economy has worsened to series low 6.5 percent in Q4 FY20. With no let-up in COVID-19 outbreak, climbing infections and localised lockdowns, recovery will be delayed. Thus there exists significant negative bias to current forecasts,” it added.