Inbound tourist trips for the first eleven months of 2018 reached 2.477 million, an increase of 14.5% over the same period in 2017. Total nights spent by inbound tourists went up by 12.6%, reaching nearly 17.7 million nights%. Total tourism expenditure was estimated at €2.0 billion, 8.2% higher than that recorded for 2017. Total expenditure per capita stood at €817, a decrease of 5.4% when compared to 2017 and a decrease of 7.2% when compared to 2016. Interesting to note that when one looks at the expenditure categories, the greatest decrease in expenditure per capita, with a 14.1% decrease between 2017 to 2018, is in the ‘other expenditure’ category, which includes the amount spent by inbound tourists on shopping, souvenirs, tickets for concerts or sports events, museums, day excursions and other amounts spent on durable or valuable goods like art and jewellery. On the other hand, the expenditure per capita for ‘Accommodation’ registered a smaller decrease of 6.7% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Unemployment: Downward trend continues
In November, the number of persons registering for work stood at 1,808 decreasing by 19.5% when compared to the corresponding month in 2017. Registered unemployed dropped among all age groups, except for those aged less than 20 years where the registered unemployed remained unchanged. Registrants for work decreased when compared to November 2017, irrespective of how long they had been registering for employment. The largest decrease in registrants was recorded among persons who had been registering for more than one year. The number of persons with a disability who were registering for work decreased by 59 persons when compared to the previous year, reaching 229. The largest share of men and women on the unemployment register sought occupations as clerical support workers.
International Trade: A widening trade deficit
During the first eleven months of 2018, the trade deficit increased by €452.5 million when compared to the corresponding period of 2017, reaching €2,787.4 million. Imports increased by €4.7 million while exports decreased by €447.7 million, with main decreases registered food (€84.0 million). Malta’s imports from the European Union reached €3,750.4 million, or 66.8% of total imports. There was an increase of €694.7 million in imports from euro area countries when compared to the same period of 2017. Main increases and decreases in imports were registered from Italy (€180.4 million) and Canada (€189.8 million) respectively. The main increase in exports was directed to Netherlands (€45.1 million), whereas Italy (€50.2 million) registered the highest decrease.
In December 2018, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was 1.2%, down from 1.4% in November 2018. The largest upward impact on annual inflation was measured in the Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages Index, while the largest downward impact was recorded in the Education Index.
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In November 2018, the seasonally adjusted index of industrial production increased by 2.5%. Increases were registered in all the main industrial groupings, namely the production of capital goods (3 %), consumer goods (1.8%), intermediate goods (0.8 %) and energy (0.7%).
In 2018, movements between Malta and Gozo continued to increase. Overall, the number of trips went up by 1,090 or 4.8%, over 2017. Vehicle movements between the islands increased by 115,880 or 7.5%, over the previous year, while the number of passengers went up by 374,478 or 7.0%. As in previous years, August recorded the highest number of trips, 2,292 or 9.7% of the total. August also registered the largest share of vehicles and passengers crossing between the two islands, 172,120 and 620,042, respectively. Passenger traffic originating from Ċirkewwa was busiest on Fridays and Saturdays, whereas the highest volumes from Mġarr were recorded on Saturdays and Sundays.
Inflation: Downward trend started in October 2018 continues
“If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” EU President Donald task on the 15th January, 2019, following the rejection of May’s EU withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons.