malta sliema

The Central Bank of Malta has released its latest economic update which shows that annual growth in business activity marginally decreased in February, and remained below its long-term average.

Meanwhile, the European Commission’s economic confidence indicator fell in February and was also below its long-term average. Employment expectations also decreased below their long-run average.

Price expectations decreased across almost all sectors, with the strongest declines recorded among consumers and in the construction sector. By contrast, price expectations in industry stood less negative compared with a month earlier.

Developments in activity indicators were mixed, as industrial production contracted on a year earlier, while retail trade rose marginally in annual terms. Unemployment remained low from a historical perspective.

Residential permits were lower in January compared with their year-ago level. In February, both the number of promise-of-sale agreements and the number of final deeds rose on a year-on-year basis.

In January, Maltese residents’ deposits rose above their year ago level for the second consecutive time, following a few months of year-on-year declines in the second half of 2023. This increase was mostly driven by balances belonging to households.

Meanwhile, annual growth in credit to Maltese residents was unchanged from a month earlier.

In February, the annual inflation rate based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) fell to three per cent, while HICP excluding energy and food, remained below the euro area average.

Meanwhile, a month-on-month decline in food prices during the month led to inflation, according to the Retail Price Index (RPI), declining to 2.3 per cent, the lowest rate observed since September 2021.

In January, the Consolidated Fund recorded a smaller deficit compared to a year earlier.

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