Newsdesk THE chairman of the Balearic Confederation of Business Associations (CAEB), Josep Oliver, yesterday estimated that the Balearic economy will grow by around three percent in 2006, approaching the national average (which is 3.5 percent) and exceeding the average growth for the whole of the euro zone (which is 1.8 percent). During his speech to the New Economy Forum which took place yesterday in Palma, Oliver highlighted the increase in the number of companies being created in the Balearics lately. To illustrate this state of affairs he pointed to the 5.6 percent growth registered in the first quarter of 2005 in relation to the same period the year before. In 2005, the monthly average of companies registered with Social Security rose to 38'600, some 4.3 percent more than in 2004, said Oliver. He went on to predict that, during the summer months, this will rise to above 45'000 companies. This situtation means that, during the high tourist season, the number of people employed in the Balearics will exceed 500'000, said Oliver. He added that the economic “success” of the islands is very much related to the role played by private companies within the economy. “Two out of every three euros of income in the islands are generated by the private sector”, said the chairman of the CAEB. He also said that, in 2006, 81 percent of the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Balearics will come from the service sector. Another 10.4 percent will come from the construction sector, 7.5 percent from the industry sector and a little more than one percent from the agriculture sector. In his speech, Oliver highlighted the “power” of some new sectors. As an example among these he chose medical care, which generates more than 100 million euros annually. Another two businesses with an interesting growth are the agroalimentary industry and the road passenger transport industry. Exports from the agroalimentary industry have already earned around 40 million euros, while the road passenger transport industry employs 2'500 people and is formed by 80 companies in the islands, he said.