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MOSCOW: Sales of new cars in Russia rose 4.3% in 2021, partially bouncing back from a sharp decline caused by COVID-19 lockdowns, the Association of European Businesses (AEB) said on Thursday, with growth expected to slow this year.

The association said the positive trend last year, with 1.67 million units sold, was due to the effect restrictive health measures introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus had on sales in 2020, when they dropped to 1.60 million units.

The AEB, a representative body of foreign investors in Russia, now expects growth to slow to 3.3% in 2022 with sales of 1.72 million units, it said in a presentation.

Its 2022 forecast assumes the geopolitical situation will not worsen and there will be no new curbs on external trade, in particular sanctions.

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The AEB said global factors including a shortage of electronic components, logistics challenges and higher costs of materials were contributing to a significant supply shortage.

Sales fell for the sixth consecutive month in December, down 19.9% year on year to 133,470 units after a 20.4% drop in November, the AEB said.

“There is no sign of a rapid improvement of the situation,” Thomas Staertzel, Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee, said in a statement.

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