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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

From Bloomberg this morning:

Romanian new-car sales surged 25 percent in the first half as a stronger currency and rising wages spurred a boom in imports.

Car sales advanced to 146,000 vehicles from 117,000 a year earlier, the Bucharest-based Association of Automobile Producers & Importers said on its Web site today. Imports jumped 53 percent to 89,000 and sales of locally made cars fell 3.7 percent to 57,000.

Romania's currency, the leu, has gained 22 percent against the dollar and 15 percent against the euro in the past year amid an influx of foreign investment, making imports cheaper. Average net wages have risen more than 20 percent in a year.

Dacia SA, a unit of France's Renault SA, had a 33 percent share of the domestic market in the first half, selling 47,600 cars, the association said. Automobile Craiova SA, a plant that Ford Motor Co. aims to buy from the Romanian government, had a 6.5 percent market share with sales of 9,500 vehicles.

Car exports from Romania, mostly Dacias, increased an annual 37 percent in the first half to 59,000 automobiles, the association said. Domestic production increased 9.4 percent in the period to 118,000.

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