Consumer confidence up, businesses doing well

Economic sentiment in Malta improved by 9% between February and March, while across Europe it remained stable.

The monthly survey carried out by the European Commission among business and consumers spread across EU countries shows that between February and March economic sentiment in Malta improved by 9%, while across the EU it remained stable. In fact, the index of economic sentiment in Malta was better than that across Europe.

In Malta, sentiment among families is better than the historical average, and much better than the European average. The Commission’s survey indicates that households expect to increase their savings in the coming months despite the fact that, in February, household deposits with banks reached a record figure of €17.1 billion, or an increase of almost €700 million in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, the percentage of those expecting an increase in prices has fallen sharply. It seems that the Stabbiltà scheme is having a very positive impact on household inflation expectations.

Sentiment among retail operators is also above the historical average. Most Maltese shops have reported increasing sales in the last three months, and they predict their turnover will increase in the coming months.

In contrast, in industry, 30% of firms stated that their orders fell. This reflects the negative international situation, with European consumers still feeling the pinch of high interest rates and energy prices. However, local factories still reported that they have orders that will take an average of five months to fulfil. This is above the European average.

The confidence of operators in the construction sector also improved and was above the historical average. Almost half of the companies observed an increase in activity in the past months and they expect orders will continue to rise. At the same time, they are reporting that they already have orders guaranteeing almost six months of work.

In services, most firms in Malta saw an increase in activity in recent months and this should continue, so much so that expectations among operators in the sector were positive and a majority of operators claimed that they would hire more workers.

Photo: Tim Douglas

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