Except for lemons and limes, the production of major types of citrus fruits grew in 2020 thanks to good weather conditions in most producing regions. Citrus fruit exports and demand indicated gains in all the categories considered.
Driven by rising demand from the food industry and favourable weather, global corn production increased significantly in 2020. The rise in prices made the raw corn-based production of bioethanol unprofitable amid the low cost of traditional fuels due to the pandemic, resulting in the closure of some distilleries. In the future, the growing demand for alternative fuels is expected to offset this shift and promote the corn market.
Increased grape production in China buoyed the global market against a fall in the grape crop in India, the EU and Russia, which enables the global production in 2020 to remain consistent with 2019 data. The export potential of Chinese and Australian grapes has improved due to the progress achieved in cultivation methods and the use of particularly fertile varieties of grape.
The fall in the production and consumption of soda ash (sodium carbonate) on the American market was precipitated by the declining demand in the consumer industries and exacerbated by the Covid crisis. The cut introduced in 2021 in terms of royalty rates for soda ash production to enable producers to reestablish competitive prices and regain their positions on the export markets.
The soybean oil market indicates steady growth, despite the COVID-19 pandemic cut demand for biofuel. The competitive price of soybean oil, against the price for sunflower and palm oil, combined with the potential growth in demand for biofuels and increasingly robust environmental standards, signal tangible prospects for the further development of the soybean oil market.
The beginning of 2021 saw a sharp increase in the steel demand, while metallurgical plants were still recovering from the operational downtime incurred during the lockdown. This market disbalance leads to an increase in steel prices. The recovery of the automotive sector and other downstream industries in 2020, at a faster pace than expected, generates the conditions for robust steel demand in the medium term.
Coffee yield figures remained robust in 2020 and coffee bean exports increased, despite the disruption to supply chains caused by the Coronavirus restrictions. Home coffee consumption surged, thereby helping to offset the slump in sales following the closure of the HoReCa segment. Average coffee prices remained growing gradually through to Q1 2021.
Increasingly stringent environmental legislation and the emergence of new gigawatt-scale electrolyzers indicate that hydrogen fuel boasts the future potential to develop as a strong competitor to traditional energy resources.
The second half of 2020 saw an unprecedented increase in demand for household appliances, as during the lockdown people started to use domestic equipment more intensively. While enjoying buoyant growth, the market is to adjust to higher standards in terms of energy efficiency and reducing waste.