There are clear indications that investors in the Balearics are being more prudent and that regional economic growth will be slower than last year, but there will not be a sharp decline. Miguel Pocoví, the new chairman of Sa Nostra bank, said yesterday, after a meeting with Balearic leader Francesc Antich and the region's Finance Minister Joan Mesquida, that the real picture of the local economy is not as bad as the image being projected. Pocoví admitted that the rate of growth will not be as high as in previous years, but brushed aside talk of a crisis and poured cold water over the predictions of a “catastrophe.” He said that every year there are always reports that the summer season will be poor, adding that he does not want to be alarmist. “If we're going to take in to account the condition of the global economy, as well as the Spanish, things may be slightly worse than last year, but for the moment, I believe that next year could be far worse unless things change,” Pocoví said. Since January conflicting economic growth forecasts have been produced. Hispalink has projected a 2.9 per cent growth this year, the Balearic government 2 per cent and the Chambers of Commerce 2.1 per cent. The expected European Union average will be 2.3 per cent growth. Inflation in the Balearics last year was 3.7 per cent. This was the highest in Spain and one point higher than the national average. Growth in the construction sector is expected to slow to around 5.3 per cent, but the Balearic government intends to bring forward a number of public development projects and to pump public investment in to the industry to maintain a high level of activity and protect jobs. Pocoví said yesterday that he has noticed an increase in the number of “for sale” signs posted on buildings “something you did not see a few months ago, investors are becoming more prudent.” However, the Sa Nostra chairman said that the bank intends to push ahead with its investment plans. “We'll always be in the front line, once we've carefully examined all investments,” he added.

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