Malta Insights

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New business registrations increased by a third in latest report

There were 4,216 new business registrations in 2018, 35 percent more than the year before. The latest data on business demographics in Malta by the National Statistics Office shows that the highest number of new registrations were businesses in the professional and technical categories, increasing to almost 700 from 520 in 2017.

Deregistrations numbered more than 1,000 in 2018, 36 more than the year before. Businesses involved in wholesale and retail trade, including vehicle repairs, saw the biggest drop of 202. Nevertheless, the category remained the largest area of activity, accounting for a fifth of all business units.

In total, there were 54,739 business units in 2018, a rise of nine percent from 2017. Large businesses grew by 13.6 percent over the year while small business increased by 4.2 percent. Micro businesses and small-sized businesses also rose by 9.4 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively.

July registers lowest inflation rate in 31 months

The annual rate of inflation in July stood at 0.7 percent, the lowest increase in the months under review since January 2018. Figures by the National Statistics Office show that the biggest rise was recorded in Clothing and Footwear, climbing to 3.7 percent from the same month last year. At the other end, Education registered the lowest rate at -9.6 percent.

Compared with June 2020, the Recreation and Culture Index experienced the highest gain of 2.3 percent, followed by Hotels and Restaurants at 1.2 percent. Clothing and Footwear, however, saw the biggest month-on-month drop at -6.9 percent.

The twelve-month moving average rate for July was 1.2 percent, continuing a gradual narrowing from 1.6 percent in January. The twelve-month moving average in the same month last year stood at 1.7 percent.

Income rises but so does the poverty rate

Average household gross income grew by more than €1,050 in 2019 from the year before while the increase in average household disposable income was of €675. Data published by the National Statistics Office shows that household gross income reached an average of €34,627 in 2019 whereas the household disposable income average stood at €27,830.

More than 75 percent of the income of households was attributed to employment income with social benefits such as old-age pensions or children’s allowance contributing to a further 18 percent. Other household income included interests, dividends, and property rentals.

The 2019 European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey published by the NSO finds that there were 82,758 people living below the poverty line in Malta, earning less than €9,212 annually. This translates to a share of 17.1 percent of the population, up from 16.8 in 2018.

The rate of people at risk of poverty or exclusion also rose year-on-year, reaching 20.1 percent in 2019 from 19.0 percent the year before.

The rate of people in severe material poverty living in households climbed from 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent over the same period. The main variables in this calculation are the ability of households to take a week’s holiday away from home within a year and the ability to cope with unexpected financial expenses.

Single parents with one or more children were the most exposed, with nearly 43 percent in that group of households living on disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. Nevertheless, that share was a decrease from the 48.6 percent observed the year before.

Households with two adults and three or more children recorded the second-highest rate of poverty risk, and the share rising from 27.3 percent in 2018 to 33.1 percent the year after.

The distribution of persons under the at-risk-of-poverty threshold was uneven across the geographical regions, but the Northern Harbour district had the largest share with 20.8 percent of the population. On the other hand, the Western district registered the lowest at-risk-of-poverty rate, corresponding to 13.7 percent.

Occupational accidents fall by a third in 2020

There were 1,108 reports of non-fatal accidents at work between January and June, 471 less than in the same period last year. Data published by the National Statistics Office shows that fatal accidents at work, however, remained the same year-on-year, counting three casualties.

The largest number of non-fatal accidents were registered in the construction industry, with 181 cases accounting to 16.7 percent of all occupational non-fatal accidents. There were 155 accidents in the manufacturing sector and 138 accidents in the transportation and storage sector.

All sectors except two, reported a decline in non-fatal accidents. Real estate activities experienced 12 such hazards in the first half of the year, double what the sector registered throughout the whole of 2019. Accidents in professional, technical, and scientific sectors also increased to 22 from 12 in the same period last year.

The most common type of injuries were wounds and superficial lacerations (60.8%), but there were several cases of dislocations, sprains, and strains (23.3%) and bone fractures (11.4%).

Men in the 35 to 44 age group suffered the highest number of non-fatal accidents, with 239 cases. There were 43 accident involving women in the same age bracket, the lowest number among female age groups. Conversely, the female age group with the highest number of accidents was that involving women over 55 years (52 cases) whereas that same age group registered the lowest number of accidents among men (178 cases).

In total, 202 women were involved in non-fatal accidents compared with 906 men.

Five traffic fatalities in the second quarter

There were 2,255 registered road traffic accidents between April and June this year, five of them fatal. Data by the National Statistics Office indicates a decrease of 40.9 percent in total road accidents compared with the same quarter last year, but the decline did not reflect evenly in life-ending accidents, of which there were six in Q2 2019.

The Northern Harbour District registered a third of all accidents, with a total 739 reported cases. Nonetheless, the region experienced the sharpest fall in accidents among all districts; a decrease of 47 percent year-on-year. All regions registered a decrease in the period under review.

Most accidents involved people between the ages of 26 and 40, followed by the 18-25 age group. Males are involved in more accidents that females across all age brackets, and males between 26 and 40 form the biggest cohort, with 66 reported accidents.

Besides the fatalities, there were another 250 casualties. Of these, 49 were grievous injuries, 155 were slight injuries and 16 were considered insignificant.

Birkirkara registered the highest decrease in accident a year – a drop of 103 cases – but still registered the largest incidence, with 209 cases, followed by Qormi (129) and Marsa (110). Rabat and Siġġiewi reported an increase of 16 and 14 traffic accidents, respectively, the highest among the six localities where numbers went up.