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 288% of the GDP (World Bank, latest data available), one of the highest ratios in the world. Malta mainly exports mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (30.5%), machinery and transport equipment (27.4%), and chemical products (12.7%); importing mostly machinery and transport equipment (37.7%), mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (27%), chemicals (9.8%), and food (8.6% - data NSO, 2022).

The country’s main trading partners are Germany (11.2%), France (5.2%), Italy and the UK (3.2 each%); whereas the main import origins are Italy (19.5%), France (5.7%), Spain (4.8%), the United Kingdom and Germany (4.4% each - data NSO, 2022). Overall, the EU accounts for 50.9% of total exports and 32.4% of imports.

Malta has a structural trade deficit in terms of merchandise: in 2021, the country exported USD 3.1 billion worth of goods, importing USD 6.6 billion. Malta, however, is a service hub and thus a net commercial services exporter: in 2021 the island exported USD 18.1 billion worth of services (+14.4% y-o-y), importing USD 14.7 billion (+11.1% - data WTO). In the same year, the overall trade balance for goods and services was estimated to be positive by the World Bank, at 13.8% of GDP (up from 12.8% one year earlier). According to the latest figures from the NSO, in 2022 total exports of goods stood at EUR 4.5 billion (+26.4% y-o-y), vis-à-vis USD 9.2 billion of imports (+38.7% y-o-y).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 6,7697,3885,7187,1338,519
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,1923,1782,8373,0643,253
Imports of Services (million USD) 12,42112,86615,31617,09716,547
Exports of Services (million USD) 16,53616,91319,27621,94921,835

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) -0.53.12.52.52.5
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -3.13.11.91.71.7

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)
2022
Germany 16.8%
Japan 7.7%
France 7.6%
Italy 5.5%
Singapore 5.3%
See More Countries 57.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Italy 22.3%
Canada 9.4%
France 6.6%
Spain 5.6%
Germany 5.1%
See More Countries 51.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. 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, 2023. 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, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: December 2023