Cyprus’ Composite Leading Economic Index (CCLEI) fell by 0.9 per cent in March 2024, when compared to the same month from the previous year, according to a report released on Monday by the University of Cyprus Economic Research Centre (CypERC).

This follows a 0.6 per cent decrease in February and a 0.2 per cent increase in January, both from the current year, as per the recent revised figures.

According to the estimates included in the centre’s report, international developments and inevitable uncertainties were key contributing factors to the drop in the index in March 2024.

In a press release issued by the CypERC, ongoing military conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, along with continued military tensions in the Middle East, continue to exacerbate international uncertainty, with Cyprus experiencing a significant escalation in uncertainty in March 2024 compared to March 2023.

In March 2024, negative growth rates were observed for the Economic Climate Indices (ECI) in both the eurozone and Cyprus. Specifically, the annual growth rate of the ECI in Cyprus worsened more than that of the eurozone.

Furthermore, the negative annual growth rate of the Cyprus Composite Leading Economic Index (CCLEI) in March was influenced by declining property sales documents and the international price of Brent Crude oil, which saw its first increase in annual growth rate since December 2022.

“While the growth of other domestic components of the CCLEI mitigates the decline in March, the recent flare-up in the Middle East exacerbates uncertainty, potentially affecting oil prices and inflation, and therefore, CCLEI growth in the short term,” the centre stated.

Given these factors, the research centre underscored that the growth of CCLEI and the prospects for Cyprus’ economic development hinge significantly on the global economic and geopolitical landscape, underscoring again how they contributed to the decline in the annual growth rate of the index in March 2024.