Central Bank registers a slower economic growth rate

Miguela Xuereb

The December level of the Central Bank of Malta’s Business Conditions Index suggests that in recent months, activity continued to expand, but at a slower pace compared with the historical average. The index is a summary statistic based on the growth rates of a number of indicators relative to their historical average.

The European Commission’s Economic Sentiment Indicator for December also fell below its long-term average, with confidence decreasing significantly in the services sector and among retailers, and to a lower extent in the construction sector. On the other hand, sentiment improved in industry and among consumers.

The Economic Update reports that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.5% in November, marginally up from the 3.4% registered in the previous two months, but slightly lower than the rate of 3.6% recorded a year earlier. The number of people who are gainfully occupied stood at 219,375 in July 2019, almost 11,200 higher than in July 2018, with job creation driven by the private sector. Whereas the number of gainfully occupied persons was increasing at a rate of 6.7% in July 2018, it continued to grow strongly, albeit easing to 5.4% in July 2019.

The annual inflation rate based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices edged down to 1.3% in November, from 1.4% in October.

The publication also looks at public finance developments and notes that a lower deficit was recorded on the Consolidated Fund in November when compared to the same month in 2018. This reflected the fact that revenue increased more than expenditure. Government debt, however, closed the month higher relative to October 2019, following a new issue of Malta Government Stocks.