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EU car sales growth slowed in February, suggesting that consumers are shying away from high-value purchases.

Year-on-year sales growth was 2.2 per cent in February, from a blowout 10.2 per cent rise in January, led by pullbacks in France (with a 2.9 per cent decline), Germany (-2.6 per cent) and to a lesser extent the UK (down 0.3 per cent.)

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, which compiles the data said in its statement:

Only Italy (+6.2%) and Spain (+0.2%) saw demand increase during the month. Noteworthy was the performance of the new EU member states (+15.9%), which positively contributed to the results of the region.

Pantheon Macroeconomics said:

Overall, these data confirm our suspicion that eurozone consumers’ demand for big-ticket items is waning following strong demand earlier in the business cycle. Real wage growth is being dented by normalising inflation, and the substantial recovery in the monthly level of new car registrations also implies that the growth rate has to come down.

(Chart: Bloomberg.)

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