In January-April 2018, Government’s Consolidated Fund registered a deficit of €95.9 million. In January – April 2017, a surplus of €21 million was registered. The main contributor to this deficit was an increase in expenses of €72.6 million, when compared to same period in 2017, under Programmes and Initiatives. The main developments in the Programmes and Initiatives category involved added outlays due to social security benefits (€18.9 million), medicines and surgical materials (€12.2 million), state contribution of projects (€10.1 million), feed in tariff (€10.0 million), treasury pensions (€7.0 million), provision of spare capacity (€3.5 million), health concession agreements (€2.8 million), church schools (€2.0 million), residential private care (€1.9 million), Jobsplus programmes (€1.5 million) and child care for all (€1.3 million).

Blockchain and Initial Virtual Financial Asset Offering Regulation up for 2nd Reading

On the 22nd May, the bills that will regulate Blockchain platforms and Initial Virtual Financing Asset (VFA) offering and VFA service providers have been placed for 2nd

Employment & Unemployment

In April 2018, the number of persons registering for work stood at 1,847 decreasing by 28.3% when compared to the corresponding month in 2017.

Inflation

In April 2018, the annual rate of inflation as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was registered at a rate of 1.4 per cent, up from 1.3 per cent in March 2018. The largest upward impact on annual inflation was recorded in the Restaurants and Hotels Index mainly reflecting higher prices of restaurant services.

Malta’s Latest Economic News

Provisional data for international trade show that the trade deficit in March 2018 stood at €200.8 million, up by €38.2 million when compared to the corresponding month of 2017. Both imports and exports decreased by €22.1 million and €60.3 million respectively.

By the end of March 2018, the stock of licensed motor vehicles stood at 375,041. During Q1 2018 the stock of licensed vehicles increased at a net average rate of 33 vehicles per day.

Total outbound tourists for the first quarter in 2018 were estimated at 137,730, an increase of 19.5 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2017. During the first quarter of 2018, outbound tourist trips towards non-EU countries increased by 45.0 per cent over the same quarter in 2017. Italy and the United Kingdom remained the most popular destinations, with a joint share of 55.9 per cent of total outbound tourist trips. Interesting to note the recovery of the legacy airline outbound traffic which stood at 44% of outbound tourists in Q1 2017 and increased to 48.3% in Q1 2018.

In the first quarter of 2018, seasonally adjusted industrial turnover increased by 0.1 per cent over the fourth quarter last year. Increases in turnover were registered in the intermediate goods (3.1 per cent) and the consumer goods (2.3 per cent) sectors. These increases were mitigated by declines in the capital goods (7.2 per cent) and energy (1.4 per cent) sectors. When compared to the first quarter of 2017, working day adjusted industrial turnover decreased by 0.4 per cent. This was mainly due to decreases across all the main industrial groupings, with the exception of the energy sector.

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