News - News Releases 2024

10/06/2024 09:30:00

Central Bank's Forecast - 2024-2026

Economic growth expected to moderate but remain strong

According to the Bank's latest forecasts, Malta's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 4.3% in 2024. Growth is then projected to ease to 3.5% in both 2025 and 2026. This implies a marginally downward revision in 2024 and 2025, when compared to the Bank's previous projections, while for 2026 the outlook is revised upwards.

In 2023, growth was primarily driven by net exports, while domestic demand is envisaged to be the main driver of growth in 2024. Private consumption growth continues at a brisk pace, and private investment, is expected to gradually recover. Net exports are also projected to contribute positively, driven mainly by services exports. Growth in 2025 and 2026 is expected to continue to be led by domestic demand.

Employment growth is set to moderate, albeit from high rates, in the projection horizon, while the average wage is expected to grow at a faster rate in 2024, partly in response to the pronounced inflation in the recent past and a tight labour market.

Annual inflation based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices is projected to drop significantly, from 5.6% in 2023 to 2.4% in 2024, before reaching 1.9% by 2026. Compared to previous projections, inflation has been revised down by 0.5 percentage point in 2024, largely reflecting the unexpected rapid drop experienced in the initial months of the year.

The general government deficit-to-GDP ratio is set to decline to 4.1% in 2024, and to narrow further over the rest of the forecast horizon, to stand at 3.1% by 2026. The general government debt-to-GDP ratio is set to increase throughout the forecast horizon, reaching 54.3% by 2026. When compared with the previous projection round, the projected deficit ratio is higher, while the debt ratio is broadly unchanged.

Risks to activity are broadly balanced over the projection horizon. Downside risks largely emanate from possibly adverse trade effects related to ongoing geopolitical tensions. On the other hand, the labour market could exhibit even stronger dynamics than envisaged in this projection round, both in terms of employment and wages. This could then result in stronger private consumption growth.

Risks to inflation are balanced over the project horizon. Upside risks to inflation could stem from extreme weather events and effects of geopolitical developments. Other upside risks to headline inflation include the potential impact of measures to combat climate change. Furthermore, wage pressures could be stronger than envisaged in the baseline. On the downside, imported inflation could fall more rapidly than expected, while services inflation could normalise more quickly than envisaged in this projection round.

On the fiscal side, risks are tilted to the downside (deficit-increasing). These mainly reflect the likelihood of slippages in current expenditure, including higher-than-expected outlays on energy support measures if commodity prices are higher than envisaged. They also reflect the likelihood of additional increases in pensions and public sector wages in the outer years of the forecast horizon. Should these risks materialise, they are set to be partly offset by the likelihood of additional fiscal consolidation efforts to comply with the EU's fiscal rules.

This publication also includes two boxed articles. The first provides a detailed analysis of the recent performance of goods exports and implications on the Bank's projections. The second takes a closer look at the composition of government capital expenditure.

2023 2024 2025 2026
GDP growth (% yoy) 5.6 4.3 3.5 3.5
Inflation rate (% yoy) 5.6 2.4 2.0 1.9
Unemployment rate 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1
General Government budget balance (% of GDP) -4.9 -4.1 -3.6 -3.1
General Government debt (% of GDP) 50.4 52.5 53.5 54.3

More details on the Bank’s latest projections can be found here.

Back to Archive