LONDON (Reuters) – Severe mobility restrictions across Europe to contain a new surge in COVID-19 cases weighed on fuel sales, weakening the prospect of energy demand recovery in the first half of 2021 Most of Europe is now under strictest restrictions, according to the Oxford stringency index, which assesses indicators such as school and workplace closures, and travel bans. In November only four European countries had imposed similar lockdowns. (Graphic: COVID-19: Government Response Stringency Index: ) The United Kingdom imposed a new national lockdown on Monday that is anticipated to last until mid-February. The German government extended a strict lockdown until end of January, and Italy extended to Jan. 15 a ban already in place on movement between 20 regions. As the result, traffic in London, Rome and Berlin sharply fell in late December and early January, according to data provided to Reuters by location technology company TomTom. (Graphic: Traffic in London and Rome falling again: ) These trends are unlikely to reverse significantly in the coming weeks, BCA Research said in a note, and the pandemic will remain a key challenge for fuel demand in the front-end of 2021, albeit to a lesser degree than last spring. The return… continue reading
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