Car sales are going through the roof with Europe's surprising spending recovery

Italy Europe flags car drivingREUTERS/Miro KuzmanovicAn Italy fan celebrates after the World Cup soccer match between Italy and Australia, in the streets of downtown Frankfurt June 26, 2006.

European car sales kept on climbing in April, with no speedbump for the solid cyclical recovery the eurozone has been recording for several months now.

Sales rose 6.9% in the year to April alone, and 8.2% over the first four months of the year, compared to the first four months of 2014, according to the latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Car sales are often used as not just a barometer of spending, but a gauge of economic confidence and security. If you’re afraid for your job, a big-ticket purchase like a car is something you’re going to delay.

It’s easy to pick out the countries that have had particularly strong cyclical recoveries in the last year. Over the first four months of the year, four nations in the eurozone saw sales growth of over 15% compared to the same month last year: Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Greece saw very impressive growth in April alone, with sales up 43.3% from the same month in 2014. But as Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Claus Vistesen points out, in total sales are still below 1990 levels.

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