It is official now. Malta’s economy is back.
According to the National Statistics Office, in 2021 Malta’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amounted to €14.5 billion. Not only was this much higher than the €13.1 billion seen in 2020, this was the best GDP level ever to be recorded in our nation’s history, exceeding by half a billion euro, the €14 billion GDP level Malta had in 2019, that is before the pandemic. Back in 2012, it had been a mere €7.2 billion or half last year’s level.
In 2021 Malta’s GDP grew by 9.4%. This was not only the best rate of growth experienced since 2017 but also means that the 8.3% decline registered in 2020 was overturned in just one year.
The pace of the recovery is quite surprising, as most economic forecasts were predicting that Malta would reach its pre-pandemic GDP level only by the middle of 2022.
This was the best GDP level ever to be recorded in our nation’s history.
In fact, the growth observed in 2021 exceeds by far the prediction made by the European Commission of a 5.9% growth, and also the Central Bank of Malta’s more optimistic projection of 7.2%. Growth was about one and a half times what these two institutions were predicting.
The EU’s economy is estimated to have grown by around 5.3% last year. This means that Malta’s economy has grown at twice the rate of its neighbours. Growth is also twice that registered in 2012, when the Nationalist Party was last in Government.
In 2021 investment is estimated to have reached the record figure of €3.2 billion. This was not just 21% higher than 2020, but also 13% higher than in 2019. Back in 2012 investment was less than €1.3 billion or nearly two billion euro less than what it was last year.
Employees last year earned €6.5 billion in compensation, or 9% more than in 2019. At the same time the gross operating surplus of businesses and of the self-employed rose to €7.1 billion, or 7% higher than in 2019.
In terms of sectors, agriculture, retail and catering, and professional and administrative services are still below their pre-pandemic level. On the other hand, all other sectors, but mainly information and communication, financial services, and remote gaming, are well above the 2019 level. Manufacturing and construction have also grown.
The excellent performance of the Maltese economy in 2021 suggests that the forecasts recently made by the European Commission that Malta will be the fastest growing economy this year are very likely to materialise.
The Maltese economic model has clearly demonstrated its resilience and has bounced back from what could have been an existential challenge. Relatively unscathed and with fire on all cylinders, it is now looking towards achieving new heights.