Malta’s Cabinet of Ministers approved three bills, one of which is the Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Bill that provides the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The other two bills are the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) Bill and the Technology Arrangements and Services (TAS) Bill. All three were presented to the Parliament of Malta for its first reading on Tuesday 24th April.

The MDIA Bill will establish the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA. The TAS Bill will set out the regime for the registration of Technology Service Providers and certification of Technology arrangements. The VFA Bill will set out the framework for ICOs and the regulatory regime on the provision of certain services in relation to Virtual Financial Assets. The intermediaries subject to the VFA bill will include brokers, exchanges, wallet providers, asset managers, investment advisors and market makers dealing in Virtual Currencies.

Employment & Unemployment

In March 2018 the number of persons registering for work stood at 1,954 decreasing by 26.2 per cent when compared to the corresponding month in 2017.

Inflation

In March 2018, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) was registered at 0.82% down from 0.98% in February 2018. The largest upward impact on annual inflation was recorded in the Food Index (0.35 percentage points). The largest downward impact was recorded in the Clothing and Footwear Index (0.26 percentage points). Euro area annual inflation rate was 1.3% in March 2018, up from 1.1% in February 2018.

Malta Government Finance

In January-March 2018, Government’s Consolidated Fund registered a deficit of €60.8 million, compared to a €12.8 million deficit in the same period last year. Compared to the same period last year, recurrent revenue registered an increase of €41.1 million whereas total expenditure went up by €89.1 million.

Inbound Tourism

Total inbound visitors for March were estimated at 167,197, an increase of 18.4 per cent when compared to the corresponding month in 2017. Total nights spent went up by 26.9 per cent when compared to March 2017, reaching nearly 1.1 million nights. Total tourist expenditure in March 2018 was estimated at €116 million, an increase of 20.2 per cent over the corresponding month in 2017.

Malta’s Latest Economic News

In 2017, registered business units in Malta amounted to 103,458, an increase of 6.9 per cent, or 6,642, over 2016. In terms of employment, 97.3 per cent of registered units were micro entities as they employed less than 10 persons.

When compared to March 2017, the industrial producer price index in March 2018 went up by 6.45 per cent. This was due to a rise of 18.85 per cent in the intermediate goods sector. Decreases were registered in the consumer goods (0.84 per cent) and capital goods (0.16 per cent) sectors.

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