The start of a second wave of COVID-19 across Europe and the tightening of lockdown restrictions due to the new virus strain led to a slump in petrol consumption and ethanol demand and prices.
S&P Global Platts Analytics estimated EU petrol and distillate demand in the region for December was down 570,000 barrels per day year on year due to these factors.
Economic mobility in Europe's biggest economies in early January slumped to the lowest levels since mid-May, with average mobility indexes in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK recorded at 43% below pre-pandemic levels as of January 17.
In contrast, the pandemic had the opposite effect on global grain prices, as major importing countries hurried to increase strategic reserves to ensure food security, while major exporting countries introduced export restrictions to ensure stability of domestic supply and prices.
Grain prices were also supported by unfavourable weather conditions in grain exporting countries, coupled with China ramping up agricultural imports in 2020-21 to offset lower domestic yields and repopulate its hog population following the culling of an estimated 50% of its population due to African Swine Flu.
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