ECONOMY GREW BY JUST 0.6% LAST YEARTHE Balearics this week holds its first Economic Congress and, according to vice-president and Minister of Commerce Pere Sampol, the timing of the three-day conference could not have been better in view of the international economic instability which has highlighted a number of economic flaws. With regards to the domestic economy, Sampol said that the Balearics is living in interesting times, not only because of the swing away from sun and sand tourism, but also because of the international situation which is having a variety of negative effects on the Balearics. This conference will enable us to reflect on what is happening and the threats to our economy in a positive frame of mind, Sampol said yesterday. However, the international scene is not the root of all evil affecting the local economy. The Balearics last year recorded the highest rate of inflation in Spain. Prices went up by 4.5 per cent, while the local economy grew by just 0.6 per cent, a benchmark economists do not foresee the Balearics breaking this year. Sampol says central government can help by working on improving the region's tourism image overseas, but local economists have warned that this year will be full of surprises which will especially affect economies dependent on external mechanisms, such as the Balearics.
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