Argentina is the first major country in Latin America to see gasoline demand recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Demand for the fuel in South America’s second biggest economy surged to a 19-month high in another sign that global fuel demand is rebounding from the depths of the pandemic-induced lockdowns.
Gasoline sales rose 4.2 percent to 157,000 barrels a day in September, surpassing levels seen in the same month of 2019, according to government data. Argentina is the first Latin American nation to top the metric, ahead of Brazil and Mexico, as the country pivoted dramatically from one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to unwinding most remaining restrictions in mid-September.
Argentina imposed one of the most rigid lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus in the region. In addition to shutting bars and restaurants, the government restricted domestic movements between provinces by car. It also halted all domestic and international flights. After several false starts, Buenos Aires reopened shopping malls, gyms and resumed in-person school classes a few months ago.
Gasoline sales are poised to improve further since the country reopened its borders to fully-vaccinated visitors from neighbouring countries in October and lifted all flight restrictions on Monday.
by Lucia Kassai, Bloomberg