ICOA – COVID-19 UPDATE BULLETIN – Dated May 26, 2020

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ICOA – COVID-19 UPDATE BULLETIN – Dated May 26, 2020

(by, Haresh Vyas, Royal Castor Products Ltd.) 

COVID-19: India and The Castor World

How true:

French philosopher Blaise Pascal IN 1600’S once mentioned “ ALL OF HUMAN UNHAPINESS COMES FROM ONE SINGLE THING: NOT KNOWING HOW TO REMAIN AT REST IN A ROOM.”

Lockdown 1.0 to 3.0:

The history of the Indian lockdown has been well narrated and sequentially placed in the earlier communication by Mr. Abhay Udeshi and Mr. Kandarp Padh. They meticulously explained the condition of the lockdown, working of only essential activities, market closure, almost closure of ports activities, partial lifting of lockdown with spot markets partially opening, starting of industrial activity with restrictions. Particular references to the staring of the Castor industry, the shipping problems and the additional cost inputs to run factories with limited labour and capacity utilization.

And now Lockdown 4.0 up to 31st May 2020 as announced on 17th May 2020.

As India enters the fourth phase of lockdown, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has breached 96,500(125,000)-mark, with more than 3,000(3720) deaths. Easing more curbs to step up economic activity, the new guidelines for lockdown 4.0 allowed shops and markets including barbershops, salons and spas except those in malls to open with staggered timings. E-commerce companies were also permitted to deliver all goods, including those considered non-essential. Passenger rail and air traffic permitted partially from 25th May, buses are allowed to ply intra/interstate. These are federal guidelines, where states will have the discretion to implement them suiting there particular needs.

Particular reference to lockdown in Mumbai and Guajrat :

Mumbai :

The commercial capital will be under lockdown, However the Govt. is indicating to open up certain services apart from the essential services which are open at present.

Gujarat (CASTOR CAPITAL):

All commercial activities are open (with restriction) in Gujarat (exception being City of Ahmedabad) except the following:

  1. Schools and colleges
  2. Gyms and swimming pools.
  3. Shopping malls.
  4. Religious places.
  5. Cultural events.
  6. Buses, except in the containment zones.
  7. People living in containment zones will not be allowed to go out for work.

Castor Industry:

Most of the major Castor players are now operational, some with limited labour and capacity, but the encouraging story is about more/new crushing plants opening up, thereby augmenting oil supplies, the immediate result being pressure on crushing margins but improved supplies. Although there are challenges on a the front like labour, availability of shipment slots, containers, domestic transport. The comfort zone is availability of seeds, in spite partial lockdown and staggered opening of market yards the arrivals are above 125000 bags. There is some scepticism on the crop Nos. of 2.0 Million M.T. but general agreement is on a fig of 1.7 to 1.75 Million M.T. , but this should be more than enough for the current year. Although it’s too early to predict but there will slow down in the farm activity due to unavailability of labour force thereby reducing overall crop output in the upcoming season. Over all the Indian Castor industry passed the acid test, there were some hiccups initially but now things have smoothened. The May despatch data will show how, even the fall in prices is indicative of the same. The short lived panic and disruption is bringing about some long term changes in the supply chain arrangements.

 Rescue Package:

The Govt of India announced a rescue package of US $ 266 Billion to address the short term and long term impact of COVID-19, with lot of reforms for the foreign investors.

Some stray observations and thoughts:

Leave aside the COVID-19 pandemic disruption, was the Castor fraternity even prepared for a small disruption.

Mid term demand forecasts will now be more based on need and not on want.

Business decisions now will be based on the following:

  • Odds of being hit, 2) consequences of getting hit and 3) tail end consequences of getting hit (this being really unknown like COVID-19).

Every country is opening up economies with renewed vigour – what if CORONA chooses to do so.

Livelihood will take precedence over lives.

THIS SHALL PASS – just not as quickly as any of us would like. 

Haresh Vyas.

Royal Castor Products Ltd.

           

 

 

 

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