Growth in February compensated for the January decrease, bringing cumulative figures for the first two months of the year level with those of the same period last year.
National figures for February 2004 show again a contrasting picture, with signs of recovery in some countries and still a sluggish environment in others. Among the five main markets, Spain (+22.5 %) and the UK (+3.8 %) continued to show a positive trend, while Italy (-2.2 %), France (-2.7 %) and Germany (-2.8 %) posted similar decreases. Six other countries posted increases, ranging from +14.2 % in Belgium to +0.8 % in the Netherlands. The remaining four countries reported decreases, ranging from –1.6 % in Austria to –10 % in Luxembourg. Registrations in February 2004 also rose in both the EFTA countries (+8 %) and in the new EU Member States (+2.7 %). Among the latter, Slovenia (+6.5 %) was the best performer, while only the Czech Republic and Slovakia posted decreases (-5 % in both cases).