A press release issued by the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat, indicates that, in the third quarter of the year, Malta registered the best rate of economic growth among all European Union countries. The significance of this result is even more pronounced considering that, in the same period, the Euro area economy taken as a whole decreased by 0.1%.
In contrast, in the third quarter of the year the Maltese economy was 2.4% larger than it was in the previous quarter. The country with the second largest growth was Poland, but growth was almost one percentage point lower than Malta. In a similar fashion, the country with the third highest growth, Cyprus, grew at less than half the rate observed for Malta.
Meanwhile, the Irish economy contracted by 1.9%, the Estonian by 1.3%, and that in Finland fell by 0.9%. In fact, 14 European Union countries have seen their gross domestic product either decline or remain stable during the third quarter. In seven countries, the decline has been ongoing for two consecutive quarters, meaning that technically these countries are in recession. These include rich countries such as the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, and Luxembourg. These recessions appear to reflect a loss of export competitiveness, probably due to the phenomenal increases in companies’ energy costs in these countries. Domestic consumption has also been hit hard by the fact that banks in these countries have raised interest rates skywards, burdening households greatly with mortgages.
While Europe has been slowing down since the beginning of the year, Malta has bucked the trend and gone the opposite way. From a 0.5% growth in the first quarter, in the second it went up to 1.9% and now to 2.4%. Across the EU it went from 0.2%, to 0.1%, to 0.0%.
When it comes to employment, Malta ranks first alongside Lithuania, with an increase of 1.4% compared to the second quarter of the year. The growth rate in Malta is seven times that seen across Europe.
Furthermore, the fact that employment increased by 1.4% while the gross domestic product increased by 2.4% means that productivity in Malta has increased sharply. This is contrary to what is happening in the rest of Europe, where the number of workers is increasing but production is staying flat or decreasing.
Apart from confirming the resilience of our country’s economy, the results for Malta show how successful Malta’s economic policy is. We are at the the top of the league in terms of GDP growth, employment, and labour productivity. This is why international institutions are constantly commending the actions of the Maltese government.
Photo: Lorenzo Castellino