Contents. General overview Key Economic figures Main Economic trends Financial services sector Economic Outlook...

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2 Contents General overview... 3 Key Economic figures... 5 Main Economic trends... 6 Financial services sector Economic Outlook... 15

3 General overview The financial and economic crisis called for the implementation of diverse policies and structural reforms across EU member states. Economic imbalances and soaring unemployment levels stagnated EU domestic demand. Furthermore, the slow post-crisis adjustments contributed in having multi-speed economies. Notwithstanding all this, economies within the EU are forecasted to experience modest economic expansion during the second half of 2013 which will continue to pick up more sturdily in However this may only be achieved through continuous economic adjustments, fiscal consolidations and timely policy implementations across all member states. Malta s economy managed to limit its contagion from the global financial crisis. As a result, the economy underwent modest growth and maintained a stable unemployment level as compared to that of other Euro Area member states. This was accredited in the latest IMF report on the country. The HICP inflation rate is expected to decelerate in 2013 in contrast to the spike experienced earlier on in the year. With respect to fiscal discipline, the general government deficit to GDP ratio of Malta exceeded the 3 per cent benchmark by 0.3 per cent during The debt-to-gdp ratio also increased and is expected to continue increasing in the foreseeable future. As a result, the European Commission recommended that Malta be placed under an Excessive Deficit Procedure, compelling authorities to put Malta s finances back on a sustainable path. Malta s financial services sector continues to be an important contributor to economic growth. As at first quarter of 2013, the sector contributed 9 per cent to total gross value added. Moreover full time employment directly within financial and insurance activities continued to grow. Malta s financial services sector did not only prove resilient during the financial crisis but also experienced growth whilst maintaining its international reputation. Such resilience is accredited to having robust local banks which are highly liquid, profitable and well capitalised, and moreover to having a diverse 3

4 economy. Recent events in Europe (particularly Cyprus) have heightened perceptions about the risks of hosting a large banking sector in a small country. These perceptions were closely analysed by major global institutions and agencies, including the European Commission, the IMF, Standard & Poor s, Fitch, Bloomberg and Reuters, who agreed that the size of the Maltese banking sector presented no particular risk. In the case of Malta, these risks are contained because the large international banking segment has limited balance sheet exposures to the Maltese economy and negligible contingent claims on the deposit compensation scheme. 1 In order to enhance and assure financial stability in Malta, a Joint Financial Stability Board was established earlier this year between the Malta Financial Services Authority and Central Bank of Malta. This report gives a brief overview of Malta s economic performance vis-à-vis that of the Euro area and EU 27 average. The first section tabulates the performance of a number of key economic variables comparing data for 2011 with The next section depicts the performance and trends of economic variables on an annual and quarterly basis. The report also focuses on the performance of the financial services sector and concludes with an outlook on Malta s economy and financial services sector. 1 IMF, Malta 2013 Article IV Consultation Concluding Statement, 15 May

5 Key Economic figures Malta Euro Area 17 EU GDP per capita 15,700 16,100 28,300 28,500 25,100 25,600 Economic growth 1.8% 1% 1.5% -0.6% 1.6% -0.3% Deficit-to-GDP -2.8% -3.3% -4.2% -3.7% -4.4% -4.0% Debt-to-GDP 70.3% 72.1% 87.3% 90.6% 82.5% 85.3% Inflation 2.5% 3.2% 2.7% 2.5% 3.1% 2.6% Unemployment rate 6.5% 6.4% 10.2% 11.4% 9.7% 10.5% Total Employment rate 57.6% 59.0% 64.3% 63.8% 64.3% 64.2% Male Employment rate 73.6% 73.3% 70.3% 69.5% 70.1% 69.8% Female Employment rate 40.9% 44.2% 58.2% 58.2% 58.5% 58.6% Source: Eurostat data 5

6 Main Economic trends Source: Eurostat Malta s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita stood at 16,100 in 2012, reflecting an increase of 2.5 per cent from the previous year. GDP per capita for the EU27 average stood at 25,600 whereas that for the Euro Area stood at 28,500, registering an increase of 2 and 0.7 per cent respectively. Source: Eurostat Malta s economy experienced growth during 2012 increasing by 1.1 per cent during second quarter of 2012 in comparison to the previous quarter. However during the second half of the year economic growth started to decelerate. Both the EU27 and Euro Area average experienced slow or negative GDP growth since fourth quarter of 2011 when comparing one quarter to another. Source: Eurostat The Government Deficit-to-GDP ratio of Malta declined steadily from 2008 to 2011, falling below the 3 per cent benchmark during However during 2012 the ratio exceeded the benchmark once again by 0.3 per cent. The Government Deficit-to-GDP ratio within the Euro Area and EU27 average also declined throughout the years however still remained above the benchmark at 3.7 per cent for the Euro Area and 4 per cent for the EU27 during

7 Source: Eurostat All EU member states including Malta accumulated debt throughout the years, diverging further from the 60 per cent benchmark. As at end 2012, the Government Gross Debt-to-GDP ratio in Malta stood at 72.1 per cent; 90.6 per cent in the Euro Area; and 85.3 per cent in the EU27. Source: Eurostat As from July 2012 Malta s inflation rate exceeded that of the Euro Area. This upward trend was consistent up to January 2013 after which the rate initiated to decrease reaching 2.6 per cent as at May In both the Euro Area and EU27 average the inflation rate experienced a downward trend reaching 2.1 and 2.2 per cent respectively as at May Source: Eurostat The long term interest rates issued by Malta, Germany and France for 10 year government bonds quoted as percentages per annum are depicted in the above chart. As at May 2013 the rates stood at 3.3, 1.3 and 1.9 per cent respectively. 7

8 Source: Eurostat The unemployment rate for Malta stood at 6.6 per cent as at first quarter of In contrast to the Euro area and EU27 averages, unemployment stood at 12.1 and 10.9 per cent respectively during the period under review. Source: Eurostat The total employment rate for Malta as at fourth quarter of 2012 stood at 59.5 per cent, which reflects a growth of 2.2 per cent from the same quarter of the previous year. The employment rate of the Euro area and EU27 average stood at 63.7 and 64.2 per cent respectively. The male employment rate in Malta stood at 73.1 per cent as at fourth quarter 2012, whereas the female employment rate stood at 45.4 per cent. The female employment rate grew by 4.3 per cent from the same quarter of the previous year. 8

9 Source: NSO - International Economic and Financial Transactions: Q4/2012 (release 055/2013) & CBM statistics From the third to the fourth quarter of 2012 the current account deteriorated from 18.4 million to 9.8 million. This decline occurred mainly due to a worsening in the net balances of all accounts except for the services account of the statement. The capital account recorded net inflows of 17.7 million as compared to net inflows of 8.1 million during the previous year. The financial account registered net outflows of million as against net outflows of million during the fourth quarter of

10 Source: NSO News release: 031/2013 The level of flows decreased significantly when comparing the first six months of 2012 with that of the previous year. As at June 2012, net flows were estimated at million. These were mainly the result of a decrease in re-invested earnings, resulting from large dividend pay-outs, and a substantial increase in receivables. 10

11 Financial services sector source: NSO release - Gross Domestic Product: Q /2013 Gross Value Added (GVA) from financial and insurance activities increased by 8.2 per cent from 2011 to 2012, amounting to 480 million at end of the year. It contributes 8.1 per cent to total GVA. On a per quarter basis, GVA from financial and insurance activities during the first quarter of 2013 contributed 9 per cent to total GVA. This reflects a growth of 13 per cent in the sector when compared to the previous quarter. Source: Eurostat Employment in financial and insurance activities in Malta represents 4.5 per cent of total employment. Full time employment in financial and insurance activities grew by 16.7 per cent from 2011 to 2012, standing at 7,700 employees as at end of the year. Within the Euro Area and EU27 average, employment in financial and insurance activities represents 3 per cent of total employment. Source: Eurostat newsletter - 54/ April 2013 The estimated hourly labour cost depicted in the chart considers wages and non-wage costs, such as employer's social contributions, for enterprises with more than 10 employees. In 2012 this was estimated to be EUR in the EU27, and EUR in the Euro Area. Conversely the average hourly labour cost in Malta stood at EUR 12.00, which is less than half the EU average. 11

12 Source: European Central Bank The chart indicates the exchange rate movements of major currencies against the Euro. January 2011 was set as the base year. An increase in the index of another currency implies a euro appreciation whereby euro currency buys more units of the foreign currency; whereas a decrease in another currency index implies a euro depreciation whereby euro currency buys fewer units of the foreign currency. Source: Yahoo! Finance Key stock indices summarises the performance of major groupings of stocks. Each of the indices tracks the performance of a specific basket of stocks representing a particular market or sector. In order to monitor performance of stock indices, a base year at 100 was taken for the first week of January

13 Source: MFSA As at 2012, the number of credit institutions licenced by the MFSA totalled to 27. Financial institutions totalled to 23 of which 15 are payment institutions and 4 are electronic money institutions. Source: MFSA The total number of insurance sector licences issued by the MFSA as at end 2012 were 42 non-life; 7 life; 7 re-insurance; and 2 composite insurance licences. Source: MFSA The number of new licences issued by the MFSA within the securities sector as at end 2012 was 117 PIFs; 9 UCITS; and 2 non-ucits. 13

14 Source: MFSA Total Assets in the banking sector at the end of the year stood at 52,900 million; aggregate NAV of locally based CISs stood at 9,700 million; and total assets in the insurance sector stood at 9,400 million. 14

15 Economic Outlook The Maltese economy registered a relatively slow growth rate in 2012 however this is projected to gain momentum in 2013 against a backdrop of recovery in domestic demand. The momentum is expected to be driven particularly by the recovery of private consumption and also by the support of government consumption. Moreover, revenue of the general government is projected to grow slightly faster than expenditure such that the general government deficit is expected to reduce marginally in both 2013 and However the debt ratio is expected to continue increasing. The inflation rate based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices is set to reduce in 2013 and to remain stable during 2014, in contrast to the strong increases experienced during Malta s labour market remained resilient during the year and is projected to remain sturdy - having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Euro area. In order for Malta s economy to remain competitive and continue experiencing growth, Malta must adopt further policies aimed at maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability, safeguarding fiscal sustainability, and enhancing growth potential, as suggested in the IMF country report. The banking, insurance and investment funds sectors continue to prove successful despite the international financial crisis. This success is underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The sector is projected to continue growing in a sustainable manner. Core domestic banks success and resilience is due to their operations along traditional lines and on stable funding sources. The insurance sector is projected to continue growing in terms of both volume of business and new investment due to access to the single market, enhancements in the legislative framework and also due to re-domiciliation potential. The investment funds sector also shows signs of steady growth. The implementation of the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive (AIFMD) is also expected to have a positive impact on growth in the medium term as the management passport 15

16 regime takes root. The AIFMD is also expected to boost the number of funds seeking onshore locations such as Malta. Other contributing factors include the introduction of more innovative legislation and on-going improvement in the type of services on offer. 16

17 The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has made every effort to ensure that information in this report is reliable and accurate at the time of publishing. However, neither the MFSA nor any of its employees make any express or implied representations or warranties regarding the material and facilities contained or referred to in this report, nor do we accept any liability for any loss or damage whatsoever which may arise in any way out of the use of any of the material or facilities; for errors in or omissions from the material or facilities; or for the accuracy of any information obtained through use of this report. The MFSA shall have no liability for any loss or damage arising out of negligence or otherwise howsoever as a result of use of or reliance on the information on this report. 17

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