In recent weeks, Benelux continued its progress towards a more open society. More flexibility in the region was allowed by the different governments, borders were opened again and other restrictions were lifted in response to a shrinking number of COVID cases.
Business activities have continued to pick up and markets have started to rise rapidly, releasing units held up by the lockdowns. Uncertainty surrounding export markets - such as China’s new classification system and India’s struggles with COVID - continued to fuel the “sell locally” strategy.
For most people in Benelux, the summer holiday period has come within reach. Traditionally, summer clearances take place at the various yards during May and early June but, owing to the pandemic, this clearance activity was delayed until the end of June and the beginning of July, all of which released units into the European markets.
From the wider perspective, the following months will show how hard our economies have been hit by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. Some technical aid programmes were implemented up to the end of June by, for instance, Belgium’s interim government. Some of these tools have now been withdrawn, so the next couple of months will be a challenging period of low demand for products in general. There is too much uncertainty in the various markets.
Also importantly, it should be noted that the number of COVID cases is rising again at the time of writing. As a result, authorities are reviewing and monitoring where, when and how potential regional lockdowns or stricter rules might be reintroduced.
Metallo Belgium N.V., Board Member of the BIR Non-Ferrous Metals Division