THE Balearic economy suffered the first downturn in 20 years last year, was the only regional economy in Spain to have posted negative GNP figures and is in “crisis.” Last year the GNP shrank by 0.5 per cent and, according to a report published by the Chamber of Commerce for Majorca, Ibiza and Formentra yesterday, more negative figures can be expected this year unless, for example, the building freeze is lifted. Chamber of Commerce economist, Esteve Bardolet, said yesterday that “positive changes” are forecast in the Balearics' economic environment during the course of this year and a further fall in GNP in excess of 0.5 per cent is not expected. The local economy has “hit rock bottom” and unless steps are taken to revive the construction industry, the Balearics will suffer another negative GNP. Last year activity in the construction industry rose by four per cent, minimal in comparison to previous years, and this year the present outlook indicates growth of between 0.5 and one per cent.

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