According to data released on Tuesday by Malta’s National Statistics Office, Malta registered a current account deficit of €89.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.
This figure, which reflects the nation’s imports and exports of goods and services, plus payments made to foreign investors, and transfers such as for foreign aid, means Malta was a net importer in the quarter.
It is a sharp decrease on the net-surplus of €255.4 million recorded in the same quarter of 2019.
This is the result of negative sales balances recorded in the goods account, the primary income account, and the secondary income account.
However, this was partly offset by a positive net balance of €562 million in the services account, according to the NSO report.
In Q4 2020, the capital account registered a positive net balance of €3.4 million, €9.5 million lower than the figure recorded in Q4 2019.
Almost across the board, balance of payments figures were down with only two accounts registering increases, secondary income accounts, and compensation of employees, which despite a net increase quarter-on-quarter by Q4, were still negative, and therefore contributing to the net deficit.
The nation’s financial accounts were less badly hit, with an increase in the balance of the majority of its investment accounts, to register a net positive change in balance for direct investments, portfolio investments and financial derivatives, and see the financial account balance increase by €151.1 million in Q4 2020, on the same figure for 2019.
The report, titled “International Economic and Financial Transactions”, also revealed that between Q4 2019 to Q4 2020, Malta’s trade balance with the EU increased, from €79 million to €212 million.
The nation recorded a fairly distinct deficit in goods trade with EU countries, at €257 million, but this was cancelled out by the trade in services, which recorded a surplus of €637 million in the quarter.
It would be a mistake to assume that ECB rate cuts are imminent, says Governor Edward Scicluna
Pensions expert Claire Falzon explains
Data emerges from a survey conducted by Marketing Advisory Services