Malta Economy - 2021


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Economic overview

Malta’s free market economy – the smallest economy in the euro-zone – relies heavily on trade in both goods and services, principally with Europe. Malta produces less than a quarter 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 maintains one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, and growth has fully recovered since the 2009 recession. In 2014 through 2016, Malta led the euro zone in growth, expanding more than 4.5% per year.

Malta’s services sector continues to grow, with sustained growth in the financial services and online gaming sectors. Advantageous tax schemes remained attractive to foreign investors, though EU discussions of anti-tax avoidance measures have raised concerns among Malta’s financial services and insurance providers, as the measures could have a significant impact on those sectors. The tourism sector also continued to grow, with 2016 showing record-breaking numbers of both air and cruise passenger arrivals.

Malta’s GDP growth remains strong and is supported by a strong labor market. 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. Increasingly, other EU and European migrants are relocating to Malta for employment, though wages have remained low compared to other European countries. Inflation remains low.

Real GDP growth rate

4.94% (2019 est.)

5.17% (2018 est.)

8.03% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.6% (2019 est.)

1.1% (2018 est.)

1.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2017)

Moody's rating: A2 (2019)

Standard & Poors rating: A- (2016)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$22.133 billion (2019 est.)

$21.095 billion (2018 est.)

$20.056 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 148

GDP (official exchange rate)

$14.986 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$44,032 (2019 est.)

$43,528 (2018 est.)

$42,856 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 39

Gross national saving

27.5% of GDP (2019 est.)

28.6% of GDP (2018 est.)

27.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 10.2% (2017 est.)

services: 88.7% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 45.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 15.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.1% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 136.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -117.9% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 66.1 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 88.2 (2020)

Trading score: 88.9 (2020)

Enforcement score: 67.6 (2020)

Agricultural products

milk, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cauliflowers, broccoli, eggplants, pork, cabbages, poultry


tourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, information technology services

Industrial production growth rate

-3.3% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Labor force

223,000 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 166

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.6%

industry: 20.7%

services: 77.7% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

0.78% (2019 est.)

0.89% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Population below poverty line

17.1% (2018 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

29.2 (2017 est.)

27.7 (2014)

country comparison to the world: 154

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA


revenues: 5.076 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.583 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

40.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

3.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Public debt

50.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

56.3% of GDP (2016 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 ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); general government comprises the central, state, and local governments, and social security funds

country comparison to the world: 99

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$1.561 billion (2019 est.)

$1.55 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46


$23.868 billion (2019 est.)

$22.475 billion (2018 est.)

$22.607 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Exports - partners

Germany 12%, France 9%, Italy 9% (2019)

Exports - commodities

integrated circuits, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, children's toys and stuffed animals, postage stamps  (2019)


$21.94 billion (2019 est.)

$20.335 billion (2018 est.)

$20.257 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Imports - partners

Russia 22%, Italy 12%, United Kingdom 11%, Germany 6%, Turkey 5%, France 5%, China 5%, South Korea 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, recreational boats, ships, aircraft, coal tar oil (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$833 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$677.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Debt - external

$98.179 billion (2019 est.)

$104.467 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Malta on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Malta 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Malta 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.