A surge in exports and strong domestic demand in the wake of the tax reform have already created bottlenecks in some areas (intermediary products and investment goods). The construction industry benefitted from capacity expansion programs in the production sector. The improvement in the labour market continued, inflation accelerated at a lower rate than in other countries. In April, the rate of inflation was 2.4 percent, markedly below the rates in the U. S. (5.1 percent), West Germany (3.0 percent), and Great Britain (8.0 percent). The world economy also kept its momentum in the spring: Economic activity was very brisk in continental Europe and Japan, but now there are signs of a gentle slowdown in the U. S. and a more marked deceleration in Great Britain. The main economic problems of the Western economies are the persistent interest rate differential between Europe and the U. S. and the concomitant tendency for the dollar to appreciate.
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