Currently, the Benelux market finds itself in the midst of the fifth wave of the Coronavirus. The Netherlands went for a strict lockdown and so, today, we find many Dutch tourists in the various Belgian cities. Not just stores, cinemas, restaurants and bars but even the gyms on the Flemish side are welcoming plenty of their Dutch neighbours.
Meanwhile, businesses are being hampered by the impact of the Omicron variant and, in order to ensure production remains up and running, various organizations asked the Belgian government to shorten quarantine periods, which ultimately it did. Contrary to the call for people to return to their offices at the end of last year, employees are now being asked once again to work from home as much as possible.
The Benelux cannot be said to be suffering from a severe winter. The weather has been rather mild and so material has continued to find its way into the yards. But at the yard level itself, it is really tough to ascertain whether companies are busy or not; owing to the high market levels, most are continuing to ship out the minute materials are received for fear the markets will drop. But speaking to various participants, the overall atmosphere is fairly calm. Elevated prices are being paid, however, for high-grade units, and this for various metal qualities.