This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that Malta’s economic growth languished in 2004 for a fourth consecutive year. Slow growth reflected the weakness of, and increasing competition in, Malta’s export markets, as well as domestic factors. The slowdown had begun with shocks to the key sectors, and was reinforced by slow growth in Malta’s trading partners and by recent oil price rises. Although growth was weak, the fiscal balance was improved substantially in 2004, and parastatal reform gathered steam.
This Selected Issues paper for The Bahamas reports that the largest portion of tourism expenditure in The Bahamas comes from stayover visitors, and total tourism spending has been stagnant. The Bahamas is a small open economy highly dependent on tourism and the offshore financial sector. Private consumption expenditure in the country or countries of origin is the most important determinant of tourism in The Bahamas.
Malta weathered the global recession relatively well. Real estate prices and collateral values experienced some correction and appear to have stabilized more recently, but excess supply likely remains in segments of the market. Continued progress with structural reforms will also be important to establish high value exports and to raise productivity and employment rates. Further pension reform will help avoid age-related public spending. Measures to enhance the education system and encourage women and older workers to participate in the labor market will be important to raise employment.