Significant drop in property sales reported
According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), the final deeds of sale for residential properties saw a significant decrease of 22.4% in October 2023, totaling 1,125. The value of these deeds totalled €298.1 million, representing a decrease of 12.2 per cent when compared to the corresponding value recorded in October 2022. In contrast, promise of sale agreements increased by 2.3%, reaching a total of 1,225. This data, based on the date of registration with the tax authority, indicates a noteworthy shift in property transactions compared to the figures recorded in 2022. (The Malta Independent)
ESG code of conduct for gaming firms announced
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has introduced a voluntary code for industry operators under its oversight, aiming to elevate their practices to higher standards concerning environmental responsibility, social issues, and governance. During a press conference, Dr. Carl Brincat, the CEO of the Authority, clarified that the purpose of the code is to encourage operators to willingly adopt its principles, especially in anticipation of a forthcoming European directive with similar objectives. The code is crafted to assist companies in Corporate Social Responsibility and Player Protection (CSRPD). It addresses various aspects, with a particular focus on social issues and governance. Given the impact of licensees’ services on society through gaming, effective monitoring becomes crucial in these areas. (TVM)
More texts, less calls, study reveals
The Malta Communications Authority’s annual report reveals a shift in mobile phone usage trends. People are opting for shorter but more frequent phone calls, reducing the number of SMS messages sent, and showing an increased reliance on data-based services such as social media, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger for communication. In 2022, the average person made 755 calls, spending approximately 29 hours talking on their mobile phone and sending 232 text messages. Notably, users consumed around 120 gigabytes of data. Despite the seemingly extensive 29 hours of phone calls, which equals 1,744 minutes, the report notes a “slight decrease” compared to the previous year. This suggests a potential change in calling patterns among mobile users. (Times of Malta)
Health Minister says Govt won second procedural agreement against Steward
Health Minister Chris Fearne told parliament on Wednesday that the government has, for the second time, emerged victorious in an international arbitration process against Steward Healthcare concerning the terminated hospitals agreement. The arbitration court’s decision favored the government in a ‘procedural’ dispute with Steward, as disclosed by the health minister. Fearne emphasized that he is unable to disclose the specific details due to confidentiality requirements. He stated, “I cannot reveal the specifics because of confidentiality, but it pertained to a procedural matter where the government and Steward were in disagreement. However, what’s noteworthy is that in this ongoing process, the arbitration court has rendered two decisions, and on both occasions, it ruled in favor of the government.” The dispute between Steward and the government revolves around the €100 million cancellation fee and is being adjudicated in an arbitration court in Paris, known as the International Chamber of Commerce. (Times of Malta)
More traffic accidents, less casualties in Q3 – NSO
In the third quarter of 2023, there was an increase in road traffic accidents, while the number of casualties decreased compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that there was only one road traffic fatality. The total count of reported traffic accidents during the third quarter of 2023 stood at 4,351, marking a 7.1% increase over the corresponding period in 2022. The Northern Harbour district recorded the highest number of accidents, with 1,514 cases, constituting 34.8% of all accidents.
On the other hand, road traffic casualties declined by 4.9% to 427 when compared to the same period in 2022. Among the casualties, there were 115 individuals classified as grievously injured, including 66 drivers, 16 passengers, and 33 pedestrians, cyclists, and others. Unfortunately, one driver’s injuries proved fatal. Notably, there were five fewer fatalities during this quarter compared to the same period in 2022. (The Malta Independent)
October sees 9.6% more passengers than 2019
October marked the conclusion of the summer season for the aviation industry, with 771,253 passengers passing through the doors of Malta International Airport. This figure reflects a 9.6% increase compared to the passenger numbers in 2019. Concurrently, there was a 6.4% increase in seat capacity. Despite the higher number of available seats on flights, robust travel demand in October resulted in a monthly seat load factor (SLF) of 84.7%. The primary markets for October were Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain. Italy (+47%), France (+53%), and Spain (+3%) exceeded their 2019 results, while the United Kingdom (-17%) and Germany (-23%) continued to experience slower recoveries in October.