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Malta Economy

    Economy—overview: Significant resources are limestone, a favorable geographic location, and a productive labor force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies, and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism; the state-owned Malta drydocks employs about 3,800 people. In 1998, almost 1 million tourists visited the island. Per capita GDP of roughly $13,000 places Malta in the ranks of the less affluent EU countries. The island is divided politically over the question of joining the EU. The sizable budget deficit remains a key concern.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$5 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$13,000 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 26%
    services: 71% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (1997 est.)

    Labor force: 148,085 (September 1996)

    Labor force—by occupation: public services 34%, other services 32%, manufacturing and construction 22%, agriculture 2% (1996)

    Unemployment rate: 5% (1997)

    Budget:
    revenues: $1.32 billion
    expenditures: $1.76 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

    Industries: tourism; electronics, ship building and repair, construction; food and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 1.425 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 1.425 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: potatoes, cauliflowers, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs

    Exports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 1997)

    Exports—commodities: machinery and transport equipment, manufactures (1996)

    Exports—partners: France 18%, US 15%, Germany 15%, UK 8%, Italy 6% (1997)

    Imports: $2.3 billion (f.o.b., 1997)

    Imports—commodities: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; food, drink, and tobacco

    Imports—partners: Italy 20%, France 16%, UK 15%, Germany 10%, US 8% (1997)

    Debt—external: $130 million (1997)

    Economic aid—recipient: $NA

    Currency: 1 Maltese lira (LM) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Maltese liri (LM) per US$1—0.3797 (January 1999), 0.3884 (1998), 0.3857 (1997), 0.3604 (1996), 0.3529 (1995), 0.3776 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)