By Humphrey Carter

THERE are “tentative” signs that the recession has bottomed out here in the Balearics but it is still too early to talk of economic revival, according to regional government chiefs yesterday.

The President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich, and the Minister for Finance, Carles Manera, yesterday claimed that there are number of “positive factors” which could eventually serve to stimulate a recovery in the local economy.

Emerging from one of the regular meetings of the Balearic Economic Watchdog, which was set up last year to monitor the recession, Manera explained that talk of economic recovery in both the United Kingdom and Germany is going to have a positive affect on the Balearics because it will stimulate the holiday market and foreign investment.

As the Bulletin has been reporting over the past few weeks, Britain certainly has not lost faith in the Balearics.
British Airways has committed itself to six flights a week out of London City Airport this summer and some of the tour operators have reported a significant increase in Majorcan holiday sales.

Manera also said that central government investment, as part of the PlanE to help fund local council projects and create jobs, has also worked extremely well in the Balearics and the second phase is about to be launched. According to the Minister, the economic growth will be negative for the first quarter of this year, around -1.5 percent, but “positive growth” is being forecast from the third quarter.

He said that Spain's leading economic bodies have reported that the Balearic economy shrunk the least in Spain last year and grew the most during 2008. “We've still got to be careful and prudent. “We're well aware of the problems the employment market is continuing to have and we could do with a boost in private investment,” Manera said.