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flag Malta Malta: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

Malta has achieved an exceptional economic development during the last years. The country managed to maintain an average GDP growth rate of 4% between 2005 and 2008, mainly due to large investments in infrastructure projects. The economic crisis of 2008-2009 affected the country but to a lesser extent than the rest of Europe. Thanks to its solid financial foundation, with little inclination for toxic loans, the country came out of the crisis relatively well.

The only sector that was really affected by the crisis was the tourism sector with a reduction in foreign visitors into the country. The only damper is still its excessive budget deficit, which is over the 3% threshold imposed by the European Commission. Malta finished the year 2013 with a growth of 1.1% against 1.2% in 2012. 

Domestic demand has remained strong in 2013 and fiscal revenues were larger than expected. This allowed the government to continue to improve the situation of public finance. The debt is contained with difficulty (72% of the GDP in 2013) and unemployment remained relatively low in 2013 compared to the Euro zone, with a rate of 6.9%.

One of the major challenges of 2014 will be to improve the rate of absorption of structural funds transferred to the Maltese. Between 2007 and 2010, only 40% of the funds attributed to Malta for the 2007-2013 period were put to use. An ambitious three-year plan of 500 million euro, targeting infrastructure (roads, beaches) and environment (waste and water treatment) has been implemented in order to boost the city's attractiveness. However, the majority of projects using structural funds require national co-financing, which it is difficult to mobilize during periods of budgetary restrictions.

In 2014 the level of growth will depend on the economic context of the Eurozone.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 9.318.899.65e10.2610.61
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 1.41.12.92.22.2
GDP per Capita (USD) 22,43721,2852224,314e25,098
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.4-3.7-3.0e-2.8-2.6
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 68.870.572.271.9e71.3
Inflation Rate (%) 2.53.21.01.0e1.2
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 6.46.36.46.06.1
Current Account (billions USD) -0.170.080.090.030.03
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.90.90.90.30.3

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector has represented only 1.5% of the Maltese GDP in 2013.

The island's economy is primarily based on tourism (which accounts for over 30% of the country’s GDP, with more than 1 million tourists visiting Malta annually) and on manufacturing (electronics and pharmaceutical products) which accounts for 13.4% of the GDP and 75% of the total exports.

Services represents 85.1% of the GDP.

The transport and telecommunications sector represents 23.3% of the GDP.

Malta does not have any mineral or energy reserves and it is completely dependent on imports in this field.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 1.0 22.1 76.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.9 32.7 65.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) -2.9 3.0 4.2

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.720.760.720.780.76

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about Malta on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
66.4/100
Position:
Moderately Free
World Rank:
58/178
Regional Rank:
27/43

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Being centrally located in the Mediterranean, Malta has, for a long time, portrayed itself as a bridge between Europe and North Africa. Foreign trade represents more than 150% of the GDP. in 2013, its main clients were Germany (12% of exports), Singapore, France, the USA and Italy. Malta exports mainly fuels, electrical and electronic products, machinery, textile products, books and newspapers. Tourism is also playing an increasing role in the national economy.

Its three main suppliers in 2013 were Italy (25% of imports), the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Singapore. Malta mainly imports electrical and electronic components, machinery, mineral fuels and oil, vehicles, plastics, and food products.

The country's trade balance has, for a long time, been in the red. However, the situation improved in 2008-2009 due to exports picking up again, propelled by the development of a large export pharmaceutical industry and most importantly by tertiary sector).  A series of measures favouring the internationalization of Maltese companies have been conducted since 2011.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 4,1355,0626,2936,5985,848
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,2423,5864,3864,2503,490
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,1182,7813,1823,0263,188
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,4704,3194,8084,8705,007
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -10.112.9---
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -8.918.3---
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 79.084.888.9--
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 78.888.293.6--
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,567-1,662-1,691-1,400-1,484
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -163-59269558581
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 157.8172.9182.5--

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
Germany 8.9%
Singapore 6.9%
France 6.4%
Libya 6.1%
Hong Kong 5.1%
See More Countries 66.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2013
Italy 24.7%
Germany 5.6%
United Kingdom 5.4%
Russia 5.1%
France 5.0%
See More Countries 54.2%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 42.4%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 13.8%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 6.6%
Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor...Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, incl. photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made-up into panels (excl. photovotaic generators); light emitting diodes; mounted piezo-electric crystals; parts thereof 4.2%
Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting...Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, or for making connections to or in electrical circuits, e.g., switches, relays, fuses, surge suppressors, plugs, sockets, lamp-holders and junction boxes, for a voltage <= 1.000 v (excl. control desks, cabinets, panels etc. of heading 8537) 3.7%
See More Products 29.2%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 38.9%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 8.8%
Yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports;...Yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports; rowing boats and canoes 6.1%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes;...Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 1.9%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.8%
See More Products 42.4%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 
 

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
44.51%
23.39%
14.80%
9.44%
3.09%
1.94%
1.17%
0.96%
0.71%
- bn USD of services imported in 2011
55.43%
17.47%
10.94%
4.10%
3.50%
3.10%
2.47%
2.28%
0.71%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs
Statistical Office
National Statistics Office
Central Bank
Central Bank of Malta
Stock Exchange
Malta Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Explore Malta
Search Malta
Google Malta
About Malta
About Gozo
Economic Portals
Malta Business Bureau

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The President is the chief of state and is elected by the parliament for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of law and running the day-to-day affairs of the country. The leader of the majority party or majority coalition is appointed as Prime Minister by the President to serve a five-year term. The Cabinet is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
The legislature is unicameral. The parliament consists of the House of Representatives having 65 seats; its members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms. In case a political party wins an absolute majority of votes but does not have a majority of seats, then that party is given additional seats to ensure a parliamentary majority. President can dissolve the parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister or alternatively parliament can dismiss a government by passing a no-confidence motion.
Main Political Parties
Since World War II, the political culture in Malta has been mainly dominated by a two-party system. These two political parties are: PN (Nationalist Party) which is a Christian democratic party, and MLP (Malta Labour Party) which is a social democratic party. Another party worth mentioning is AD (Democratic Alternative) which is a Green political party.
Current Political Leaders
President: Marie-Louise Coleiro PRECA (since 4 April 2014)
Prime Minister: Joseph MUSCAT (since 11 March 2013)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: April 2019
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
51/180
Evolution:
6 places down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: October 2014