Business confidence in Mauritius edged up in the first quarter of this year after sliding in the two previous quarters, boosted by local firms looking to make inroads into new markets, a survey showed on Monday. The index compiled by the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) rose 7.3 percent to 91.6 points, recovering from the lowest level in the survey’s history reached in the fourth quarter. “More than two thirds of captains of industry surveyed said they have strengthened their efforts to diversify into new markets in the region,” Renganaden Padayachy, economist at the chamber, told a news conference. The chamber said Mauritian businesses were targetting the Indian Ocean region and Africa to sell textile products and find buyers for the island’s luxury villas. Padayachy said 86 percent of businesses surveyed declared they would increase investments in equipment and machinery. Up to now, the island state’s international trade is heavily skewed towards the economically troubled euro zone, accounting for 67 percent of exports. It is also the biggest source of tourists.