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WARSAW, March 3 (Reuters) - New car registrations in Poland jumped 12.5 percent last month from a year earlier to their highest February level in at least 16 years, as a growing economy prompted more companies to purchase cars, data from the Samar research institute showed on Friday.
New registrations totalled 43,080, a rise of 2.7 percent from January, the institute, which is privately-run, said.
"Institutional clients are currently the driving force of registrations," Samar said in a statement, adding individuals were predominantly buying used cars.
Registrations have now risen in annual terms for 23 consecutive months and have been growing at double-digit rates since November.
"Better growth prospects of companies increase their propensity to buy new cars," said Dariusz Balcerzyk, an analyst at Samar.
Poland's $450 billion economy grew at its fastest quarterly pace in a decade at the end of 2016, underpinned by record low unemployment, a new child benefit and signs that the flow of European Union aid has accelerated after a sharp contraction.
Uncertainty regarding changes in excise tax rates for cars could be discouraging some buyers now, Balcerzyk said, adding that once the new rates are approved by lawmakers new car registrations could get an additional boost.
Top-selling car models in Poland this year have been the Skoda Fabia and Skoda Octavia, produced by Skoda, the Czech subsidiary of Volkswagen.
These models were followed by the Opel Astra, produced by Germany's Opel AG, part of General Motors. Toyota Yaris was in the fourth position. (Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Susan Fenton)