Malta flag Malta: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Malta

Foreign Trade in Figures

Centrally located in the Mediterranean, Malta has long portrayed itself as a bridge between Europe and North Africa. Its economy relies heavily on foreign trade, principally with Europe. International trade represents 318% of the GDP (World Bank, latest data available), one of the highest ratios in the world. Malta mainly exports machinery and transport equipment (31.1%), mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (29.8%), miscellaneous manufactured articles (15.5%), chemicals (11.6%), and food (7.0%); whereas imports are led by machinery and transport equipment (36.5%), mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (23.8%), food (10.4%), chemicals (10.0%), and miscellaneous manufactured articles (9.3% - data NSO, 2023).

Malta’s main import partners are Italy (19.8%), Germany (7.8%), France (7.8%), the UK (6.2%), Spain (5.6%), and the Netherlands (4.7%), with exports directed mostly towards Germany (18.7%), Italy (3.7%), Hong Kong (3.2%), the UK (2.2%), and Spain (1.6%). The majority of imports, accounting for 55.2%, originated from the European Union, with an additional 19.9% sourced from Asia. Likewise, exports were primarily aimed at the European Union, constituting 37.1%, while Asia received 16.9% (data NSO 2023).

Malta has a structural trade deficit in terms of merchandise: in 2023, the deficit narrowed by EUR 779.3 million compared to 2022, reaching EUR 4,061.2 million. Imports stood at EUR 8,577.5 million whereas exports reached EUR 4,516.3 million, representing decreases of EUR 934.3 million and EUR 155.0 million, respectively (table 1). Lower imports were mainly recorded in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (EUR 527.5 million), machinery and transport equipment (EUR 459.8 million), and chemicals (EUR 66.1 million), partly offset by increases in food (EUR 86.4 million) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (EUR 40.8 million). On the exports side, the main decreases were registered in mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (EUR 176.9 million), food (EUR 73.6 million), and chemicals (EUR 47.1 million). These were partly offset by an increase in machinery and transport equipment (EUR 153.4 million – data NSO). On the other hand, the country is a net exporter of services (USD 21.8 billion in exports against USD 16.5 billion in imports in 2022, WTO).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7,3885,7187,1338,5198,105
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,1782,8373,0643,2533,468
Imports of Services (million USD) 12,86615,31617,09717,10218,936
Exports of Services (million USD) 16,91319,27621,94922,45224,835

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 307.4316.0343.4323.0324.6
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,755-1,614-1,389-2,277-3,597
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 2,2733,3902,5712,5751,534
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 12.211.22.03.89.7
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 10.810.1-1.66.36.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 144.6149.2165.0153.3156.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 162.8166.8178.3169.7168.0

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 8.73.12.92.52.3
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 4.61.02.11.81.6

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Malta is member of the European Union and Euro zone.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Germany 16.8%
Japan 7.7%
France 7.6%
Singapore 5.3%
United Kingdom 5.3%
See More Countries 57.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Canada 9.4%
France 6.6%
Spain 5.6%
Germany 5.1%
Greece 4.9%
See More Countries 68.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

3.3 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 24.8%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 11.5%
Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps of...Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps of current or new issue in the country in which they have, or will have, a recognised face value; stamp-impressed paper; banknotes; cheque forms; stock, share or bond certificates and similar documents of title 8.1%
Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not...Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not minced, fresh, chilled or frozen 6.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.9%
See More Products 44.2%
8.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes...Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes"; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 15.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 14.2%
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 6.4%
Yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports;...Yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports; rowing boats and canoes 6.4%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.8%
See More Products 53.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: May 2024