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News desk PRICES in the Balearics rose by three percent last year, slightly below the national average of 3.2 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

The biggest increases in the Balearics were in petrol and its repercussion on transport (up by 5.8 per cent) and hotel and complementary offer such as bars, restaurants and cafeterias, which went up by 5.3 per cent.

The Balearics ended the year with the fourth lowest rate of inflation, following the Canary Islands with 2.5 per cent and Cantabria and Extremadura, both with 2.8 per cent.

The inflation rate is higher than that of other countries in the euro zone and yesterday the Balearic business federation CAEB said that it was essential to intensify efforts to reduce this difference, to halt the loss of competitiveness.

Vicenç Tur, head of their economy department, expressed a hope that inflation would go down over the next few months, “if energy costs are moderated and the euro remains strong against the dollar.” Lluis Ramis de Ayreflor, Balearic minister of finance and innovation, expressed his concern at the increase in transport costs and its effect on the Balearic economy. He also regretted the increase in hotels, cafes and restaurants. “The complementary offer often complains that tourists do not consume much, but there is no flexibility in prices,” he said yesterday.

He agreed with CAEB that the higher inflation rate compared to competitors was negative.
Union leader Manuel Pelard said that the increase in prices means that more than 100'000 works in the islands have lost purchasing power, because their contracts do not take into consideration an annual revision.