Malta flag Malta: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Malta

Foreign Trade in Figures

Centrally located in the Mediterranean, Malta has for a long time portrayed itself as a bridge between Europe and North Africa. Its economy relies heavily on foreign trade, principally with Europe. International trade represents 271.5% of the GDP (World Bank, latest data available), one of the highest rates in the world. Malta exports mainly mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (27.2%), machinery and transport equipment (24.3%), and chemical products (17.7%); importing mostly machinery and transport equipment (38.2%), mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (21.6%), and chemicals (18.9% - NSO, 2021).

The country’s main trading partners are Germany (10.2%), Italy (5.5%), France (4.5%), and the UK (3.1%); whereas the main import origins are Italy (20.7%), the United Kingdom (7.6%), France (6.1%), and Spain (5.4% - data by NSO, 2021). Overall, the EU accounts for 35.4% of total exports and 53.8% of imports.

Malta has a structural trade deficit in terms of merchandise: in 2020, the country exported USD 2.6 billion worth of goods, importing USD 5.2 billion. Malta, however, is a service hub and thus a net commercial services exporter: in 2020 the island exported USD 15.8 billion worth of services (-6.1% y-o-y), importing USD 13.2 billion (+3.2%). In the same year, the overall trade balance for goods and services was estimated to be positive by the World Bank, at 9.6% of GDP (down from 14.8% one year earlier). According to the latest figures from the NSO, in 2021 total exports of goods stood at EUR 3.4 billion (-3.5% y-o-y), against USD 6.4 billion of imports (+18.6% y-o-y).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 6,1895,8096,7697,0725,223
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,0172,5163,1923,0072,680
Imports of Services (million USD) 8,7749,69412,33512,79413,207
Exports of Services (million USD) 11,35113,69816,37016,84715,816

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

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 289.5283.7268.9271.4271.5
Trade Balance (million USD) -2,201-1,661-1,746-1,764-1,605
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,2962,2292,3172,3101,025
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.04.50.47.9-4.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.88.4-0.46.4-7.8
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 139.2133.3126.4128.3131.0
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 150.4150.5142.5143.1140.6

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 6.03.62.92.52.5
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.73.62.61.81.7

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)
2020
Germany 17.0%
France 9.0%
Italy 6.8%
Hong Kong SAR, China 5.7%
Singapore 5.5%
See More Countries 56.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
Italy 20.2%
United Kingdom 8.3%
China 7.9%
France 7.0%
Germany 6.6%
See More Countries 49.9%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

2.7 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 18.7%
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) 15.1%
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 9.9%
Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar...Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar wheeled toys; dolls' carriages; dolls; other toys; reduced-size "scale" recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds 6.2%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801...Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 3.9%
See More Products 46.2%
5.2 bn USD of products imported in 2020
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 13.2%
Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes...Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes"; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 11.2%
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 5.8%
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) 5.6%
Yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports;...Yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports; rowing boats and canoes 4.3%
See More Products 59.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. 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, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: November 2022

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