This year will not go down in history as a good one for the global economy. The combined effects of the war in Ukraine, the rise in the interest rates, and the armed conflict in Gaza have hammered economies across the globe. As a result, several important economies, amongst them giants like the US, China, and France, are facing the prospect of having their credit rating downgraded. At the same time, the growth prospects for EU countries have been halved, and many countries are experiencing a technical recession.
If one, however, were to focus just on Malta, 2023 would stand out as yet another solid year, where the economy continued to prosper while social conditions improved further. In fact, throughout 2023 there has been a steady flow of positive reports about the Maltese economy, such that it is forecast to have the highest growth in the EU and the lowest unemployment rate for the forthcoming years. In total, one can focus on 15 major positive international assessments of Malta during 2023, that is one every three weeks.
- The first positive certificate that was received by Malta was on the 8th of February, when the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund concluded that “Malta’s economic recovery from the pandemic is remarkable”.
- Just a few days after, in its Winter 2023 Economic Forecast published on the 13th February, the European Commission emphasised that economic growth in Malta was “higher than projected”.
- These higher-than-projected outturns led Fitch Ratings, on the 24th March, to confirm its highest rating for Malta, at A+.
- On the 14th April, it was the turn of DBRS Morningstar to confirm the best rating they ever gave to our country, that of A (high).
- A week after, on 22nd April, during the celebration of the 55th anniversary of the Central Bank of Malta, the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, praised the resilience of the Maltese economy and its diversified services sector.
- On the 15th May, the European Commission issued its Spring Forecasts and argued that for Malta, contrary to the rest of Europe, “growth remains robust”.
- Then, on the 19th May, Moody’s confirmed their rating for Malta with a stable outlook.
- Similarly, on the 12th June, S&P Global Ratings affirmed their stable outlook for Malta’s credit rating.
- After the summer break, on the 15th September, Fitch Ratings confirmed Malta’s A+ rating and stated that our country was “still significantly outperforming our projections for the eurozone”.
- On the 13th October DBRS Morningstar, after praising the Maltese government’s decision to protect households and firms from the energy price shock, concluded that “the debt ratio is lower than previously anticipated, due to higher real growh and inflation, and remains well below the Maastricht benchmark of 60.0% of GDP and the EU average debt burden”.
- A month after, on the 15th November, the European Commission’s economic projections confirmed Malta at the top of the economic growth league table.
- Two days after, on the 17th November, Moody’s confirmed once more Malta’s rating and described the country as having “an economy that is dynamic, wealthy and diversified”.
- Then, on the 21st November, in its assessment of the country’s draft budgetary plan the European Commission concluded that Government is following recommendations in terms of the increase in spending while conducting the recommended amount of public investment.
- On the 23rd November, at the end of its Article IV mission, the International Monetary Fund issued a report that concluded that “Malta has marked an impressive recovery from the pandemic and demonstrated substantial resilience to shocks”. The report predicted many more years of economic growth for Malta.
- Finally, on the 8th December, S&P Global Ratings predicted Malta’s economic growth to be seven times that of the Euro Area, attributing this to the fact that “government’s decision to maintain stable energy prices softened the hit to private consumption, as it contained inflation”. In their report, these international experts predict Malta’ economic growth “to remain above European peer’s and then rebound, supported by EU funds and tourism”.
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