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Malta: Economy#

Malta - the smallest economy in the euro zone - produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing, and tourism. Malta joined the EU in 2004 and adopted the euro on 1 January 2008.

Malta has weathered the euro-zone crisis better than most EU member states due to a low debt-to-GDP ratio and financially sound banking sector. It has low unemployment relative to other European countries, and growth has recovered since the 2009 recession. In 2014 and 2015, Malta led the euro zone in growth, expanding by nearly 3.5% each year.

Malta’s services sector continued to grow in 2015, with noted increases in the financial services and online gaming sectors. Malta continues to enhance its regulation of the financial services sector, and passed additional legislation in 2014 and 2015 to improve anti-money laundering oversight for financial and gaming activities. Expanding EU discussions of anti-tax avoidance measures, including the "Anti-Tax Avoidance Package" submitted in early 2016, have raised concerns among Malta’s financial services and insurance providers about passage of laws governing EU tax practices, which could have a significant impact on those sectors.

Malta’s 2015 GDP growth was bolstered by energy infrastructure investments, and revenue growth is expected to continue, supported by a strong labor market and proceeds from a citizenship by investment program equal to roughly 0.9% of GDP. Malta's geographic position between Europe and North Africa makes it a route for irregular migration. Historically, Malta's fertility rate has been below the EU average, and population growth in recent years has been largely from immigration, increasing pressure on the pension system. The government has implemented new programs, including free childcare, to encourage increased labor participation. The high cost of borrowing and small labor market remain potential constraints to future economic growth.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$16.32 billion (2016 est.)
$15.68 billion (2015 est.)
$14.77 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$10.46 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.1% (2016 est.)
6.2% (2015 est.)
3.5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$37,900 (2016 est.)
$36,500 (2015 est.)
$34,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving31.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
34.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
21.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 52.4%
government consumption: 19.5%
investment in fixed capital: 24.6%
investment in inventories: 0.4%
exports of goods and services: 135.6%
imports of goods and services: -132.5% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 1.4%
industry: 11.4%
services: 87.2% (2015 est.)
Agriculture - productspotatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs
Industriestourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, information technology services
Industrial production growth rate5.9% (2015)
Labor force201,600 (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.7%
industry: 18.3%
services: 80% (2015)
Unemployment rate4.6% (2016 est.)
5.4% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line15.9% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index27.7 (2014)
27.9 (2013)
Budgetrevenues: $4.288 billion
expenditures: $4.401 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues41% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt62.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
63.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: Malta reports public debt at nominal value outstanding at the end of the year, according to guidelines set out in the Maastricht Treaty for general government gross debt; the data include the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in E
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.3% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate-0.21% (31 December 2015)
-0.09% (31 December 2013)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate2.9% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.4% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$14.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.87 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the EU for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating
Stock of broad money$18.31 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.36 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$18.28 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$17.58 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$4.405 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.642 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.249 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Current account balance$653 million (2016 est.)
$962 million (2015 est.)
Exports$2.915 billion (2016 est.)
$2.956 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and mechanical appliances; mineral fuels, oils and petroleum products; pharmaceutical products; books and newspapers; aircraft/spacecraft and parts; toys, games, and sports equipment
Exports - partnersGermany 13.3%, France 10.2%, Hong Kong 7.4%, Singapore 7.3%, UK 6.4%, US 5.8%, Italy 5.6%, Japan 4.7% (2015)
Imports$4.479 billion (2016 est.)
$4.603 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmineral fuels, oils and products; electrical machinery; aircraft/spacecraft and parts thereof; machinery and mechanical appliances; plastic and other semi-manufactured goods; vehicles and parts
Imports - partnersItaly 23%, Netherlands 8.4%, UK 7.5%, Germany 6.8%, Canada 6.1%, China 4.1%, France 4% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$537.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$571.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$97.35 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
$104.4 billion (31 March 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$164.4 billion (30 June 2015 est.)
$158.7 billion (December 31, 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$69.09 billion (31 June 2015 est.)
$67.32 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.78 (2012 est.)