Traders and producers talk of it in hushed tones. Consumers fear its arrival. It is May 1: the quietest day of the year for metals.

While some unlucky souls are left to man their offices, the tumbleweed drifts by and the occasional lonely bird sounds its mournful cry as some 80 countries take a holiday.

“It’s terrible – most people take the rest of the week off, so it’ll be Tuesday before everything’s back to normal,” one noble alloys producer said.

“You can’t even go to the shops or do anything you need to do,” a market participant in Switzerland added. “And we’ve got three more holidays this month.”

This blight on the calendar sees information all but dry up in the first week of May and it is almost impossible to find anyone doing significant amounts of business.

Hotline is inclined to think a day off might be nice, though…