February 6, 2018 / 12:10 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Russian car sales post biggest monthly jump since 2011

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MOSCOW, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sales of new cars in Russia posted their biggest monthly increase since 2011 in January as the country’s auto industry returns to growth after four bad years, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group said on Tuesday.

Russia’s once-booming car industry was one of the most high profile victims of the country’s economic downturn but returned to growth last year as the economy began to recover.

Car sales rose 31.3 percent year-on-year in January to 102,464 vehicles, the AEB said, partly due to the low number of vehicles sold in the same period last year.

“The 31 percent headline growth in January is remarkable in the sense that it is the largest year-on-year improvement in a single month since 2011,” said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee.

“Positive sales momentum can be expected to continue in the short term, although likely at a somewhat dampened pace.”

Russian car sales totalled 1.6 million units in 2017, up 11.9 percent from the previous year but still around half of the almost 3 million reached in 2012, before the market downturn.

The AEB declined to give its usual growth forecast for 2018 at an annual meeting in January due to uncertainty about future government subsidies and tax measures. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)

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