China’s steel industry has faced difficulties in production and sales since the first working day after the Lunar New Year holiday due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which has led to some 78,000 infections and close to 2,700 deaths in the country so far.

Metal and ferro-alloy suppliers in Europe are reporting strong call-offs on sales to European consumers, some of which are stocking up in preparation for any disruptions that might be caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus infection.

The Shanghai cif copper cathode premium rose to a two-month high on Tuesday February 25 amid improving sentiment following an increase in market activity, while rates in Europe and the United States were unchanged.

Chinese nickel premiums increased in the week to February 25, along with one in the United States, but European premiums remained flat, near a perceived bottom, sources told Fastmarkets.

Molybdenum prices in South Korea and Europe dropped sharply this week on slowing demand in Asia amid the novel coronavirus.