STAFF REPORTER
PALMA

THE economy of the Balearic Islands is forecast to shrink by 1.5 percent next year, reported regional Finance minister, Carlos Manera yesterday.
He acknowledged that the figure is 1.2 percent worse that predictions for Spain as a whole which will be facing a decline of 0.3 percent in its economy in 2010. Manera said that there was no escaping the fact that the same “depressive” trends as this year are going to be holding steady in the Balearics, even though there will be more optimistic signs of recovery than there have been in 2009. This year, said Manera will close with the Balearic economy having contracted by -2.9 percent, not as bad as at a national level where a shrinkage of -3.6 percent has been calculated.

The Minister was speaking yesterday after the publication of a Joint Report on the Balearic Economy which revealed that the construction industry was the sector which continued to be going through what it described as the “greatest difficulty.” Details showed that the industry looks set to contract by -8.9 percent by the end of the year, considerably worse than the light industrial sector which is having to come to terms with a downturn of -3.5 percent in economic activity. By way of contrast, the Minister said there was a brighter picture in the regional Tourism industry as the economic recovery being experienced in key client countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany have contributed to growth forecasts. The number of people coming to the Islands from these countries is predicted to rise by 0.9 and 0.3 percent respectively.

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