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Europe's economy still mired in slump

EUROPEAN car sales continued their year-long slide in March, with only government handouts avoiding a steeper fall while plunging industrial output and record-low inflation figures show the economy is still shrinking, according to statistics published yesterday.

European car sales fell 9 percent in March from a year ago despite government subsidies to car buyers that have buoyed German, French and Italian purchases, the European auto makers' association, ACEA, said yesterday.

Households are avoiding big-ticket items in recession-hit Europe as consumer confidence is at all-time lows amid worries about job losses.

Industrial output in February among the 16 nations that use the euro fell by 2.3 percent from January and 18.4 percent from a year ago, the European Union statistics office, Eurostat, said.


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