Possessing few indigenous raw materials and a very small domestic market, Malta has based its economic development on the promotion of tourism, accounting for roughly 30% of GDP, and exports of manufactured goods, mainly semi-conductors, which account for some 75% of total Maltese exports. Since the beginning of the 1990s, expansion in these activities has been the principal engine for strong growth in the Maltese economy.

Tourist arrivals and foreign exchange earnings derived from tourism have steadily increased since the late 1970s. Following the September 11 attacks, the tourist industry has suffered some setbacks worldwide. Maltese tourist arrivals fell by a cumulative 7% during 2001 and 2002. At the same time, the bursting of the high tech bubble dampened exports and private investments.

Despite these adverse developments, the relatively flexible labor markets kept unemployment fairly steady at 7.2 (Labor Force Survey Jan Ð March 2004) Following a decline in GDP in 2001, a modest recovery began in 2002, with some improvements in the tourist sector in the second half of the year. Employment growth, however, remained weak.

The recent low economic growth coupled with corporate bond preference by the private sector has contributed to a weak demand for bank loans. Combined with the strong growth in deposits in the past couple of years, this has led to a rapid buildup of liquidity in the banking system and pressures to reduce interest rates that are fully liberalized. The banking system remains highly concentrated with two of the four local banks accounting for about 90% of total loans and deposits.

The Maltese Government has pursued a policy of gradual economic liberalization, taking some steps to shift the emphasis in trade and financial policies from reliance on direct government intervention and control to policy regimes that allow a greater role for market mechanisms. MaltaÕs accession into the EU will mark the total dismantling of protective import levies on industrial products, increasing the outward orientation of the economy. Malta maintains a long-standing exchange rate peg to a basket of currencies Ð currently composed of the euro, pound sterling and dollar. The peg has delivered low inflation and served Malta well, especially during the period of liberalization.

The fiscal situation remains difficult despite some progress in consolidating public finances. The budget deficit was brought down from 10.7% of GDP in 1998 to 9.7% of GDP in 2003 (still high by EU standards), mainly through increases in tax rates and improved collection of taxes due. Current expenditures were reduced in the late 1990s but have crawled back up. The public sector wage bill and subsidies to public enterprises were mainly responsible for this increase. Substantial privatization proceeds have limited the increase in public debt, which grew from 24% of GDP in 1990 to almost 72.01% in 2003.

Malta’s free market economy – the smallest economy in the euro-zone – relies heavily on trade in both goods and services, principally with Europe. Malta produces less than a quarter of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing, and tourism. Malta joined the EU in 2004 and adopted the euro on 1 January 2008.

Malta has weathered the euro-zone crisis better than most EU member states due to a low debt-to-GDP ratio and financially sound banking sector. It maintains one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, and growth has fully recovered since the 2009 recession. In 2014 through 2016, Malta led the euro zone in growth, expanding more than 4.5% per year.

Malta’s services sector continues to grow, with sustained growth in the financial services and online gaming sectors. Advantageous tax schemes remained attractive to foreign investors, though EU discussions of anti-tax avoidance measures have raised concerns among Malta’s financial services and insurance providers, as the measures could have a significant impact on those sectors. The tourism sector also continued to grow, with 2016 showing record-breaking numbers of both air and cruise passenger arrivals.

Malta’s GDP growth remains strong and is supported by a strong labor market. The government has implemented new programs, including free childcare, to encourage increased labor participation. The high cost of borrowing and small labor market remain potential constraints to future economic growth. Increasingly, other EU and European migrants are relocating to Malta for employment, though wages have remained low compared to other European countries. Inflation remains low. For all of these reasons Malta might be an excellent place to open a busiess.

Malta has an active Chamber of Commerce who can be very helpful for those who are intersted in setting up a business in Malta. There are also specialized companies that can help you set up a business. CSB Group offers diverse yet specialised business solutions and commercial services to a vast portfolio of corporate and private clients seeking to setup a business or relocate to Malta. 



1990 2000 2010 2018
GNI, Atlas method (current US$) (billions) 2.69 4.26 8.51 12.8
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$) 7,600 10,920 20,540 26,420
GNI, PPP (current international $) (billions) 3.55 7.42 10.93 19.44
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) 10,040 19,020 26,370 40,120
GDP (current US$) (billions) 2.55 4.31 8.75 14.55
GDP growth (annual %) 6.3 6.8 3.5 6.8
Inflation, GDP deflator (annual %) 3.2 7.3 3.8 2.1
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP) 3 2 1 1
Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP) 51 27 18 12
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP) 76 119 153 145
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP) 89 127 154 124
Gross capital formation (% of GDP) 31 27 24 19
Revenue, excluding grants (% of GDP) 80.6 74.8 38.2 38.3
Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) (% of GDP) -11.2 -12.2 -2.4 1.8
States and markets
Time required to start a business (days) .. .. 39 16
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP) .. .. 148.9 116.1
Tax revenue (% of GDP) 42.4 45.9 26.1 26.3
Military expenditure (% of GDP) 0.9 0.6 0.7 0.5
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) 0 29.1 110 140.2
Individuals using the Internet (% of population) 0 13.1 63 81.7
High-technology exports (% of manufactured exports) .. .. 47 32
Statistical Capacity score (Overall average) .. .. .. ..
Global links
Merchandise trade (% of GDP) 122 136 99 64
Net barter terms of trade index (2000 = 100) .. 100 133 133
External debt stocks, total (DOD, current US$) (millions) .. .. .. ..
Total debt service (% of exports of goods, services and primary income) .. .. .. ..
Net migration (thousands) 2 6 16 5
Personal remittances, received (current US$) (millions) 58 17 230 276
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) (millions) 30 743 9,245 4,750
Net official development assistance received (current US$) (millions) 5.3 21.2 .. ..
Net official development assistance received (current US$) (millions) 41.3 396.4 734 729.4