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French and Spanish car sales show steadying market

PARIS (Reuters) - Car sales in France and Spain showed further signs of stabilizing last month after a prolonged recession in much of Europe pushed demand close to a two-decade low.

Signs of economic recovery in even some of the worst affected countries, such as Spain, have led to a pick-up in demand in recent months.

New car sales in Spain jumped 15.1 percent year on year in November, the third month of increase in a row and helped by government subsidies, car manufacturers' association Anfac said on Monday.

Some 55,450 new cars were registered in November, compared with 48,155 in November 2012, despite one fewer working day.

"We're in a good position for the end of 2013 and in order to start 2014 in the best way possible. The recovery will be noticeable next year," said Jaume Roura, head of Spanish car dealers association Faconauto.

However, Anfac said its forecast for around 720,000 new cars to be sold this year was well short of the 1.2-1.3 million it would expect for a country of Spain's per capita income and economic development.

In France, new car registrations declined 4.4 percent year on year to 138,298 in November, after rises in both October and September, the auto industry association CCFA said.

But if the data were adjusted for the reduction in business days compared with November 2012, registrations would have increased 5.7 percent, it added.

French carmakers PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG.PA) and Renault (RNO.PA) saw sales rise 4.5 percent and 3.8 percent respectively, continuing to outpace foreign competitors, which saw sales drop 12.9 percent.

(Reporting by Leila Abboud and Gilles Guillaume in Paris and Paul Day in Madrid; writing by Mark Potter; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)