Pos­i­tive eco­nomic and so­cial in­di­ca­tors pub­lished by Euro­stat

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

The Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, Prof. Ed­ward Sci­cluna has wel­comed the lat­est fig­ures pub­lished by Euro­stat that con­firm the pos­i­tive per­for­mance reg­is­tered by the Mal­tese econ­omy on var­i­ous fronts in­clud­ing con­sumer prices, ex­ter­nal trade and so­cial in­di­ca­tors.

In­deed, the lat­est Euro­stat in­fla­tion fig­ures con­firm that, un­like other Euro­pean Mem­ber States in­clud­ing Cyprus, Spain and Greece, Malta is not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing de­fla­tion­ary pres­sures and has recorded a healthy in­fla­tion rate of 1.6% in Septem­ber. This is well in line with the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s tar­get rate of close or be­low 2% over the medium-term and re­flects the ro­bust growth recorded by the Mal­tese econ­omy in the re­cent years sup­ported by a buoy­ant labour mar­ket, which is in turn boost­ing pri­vate con­sump­tion. With re­gards to in­ter­na­tional trade, Euro­stat fig­ures show that for the pe­riod Jan­uary to Au­gust of this year, Malta has recorded an in­crease in ex­ports of 8% over the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod of last year. The main con­trib­u­tor to this in­crease was the rise in ex­ports out­side the EU28 Mem­ber States in line with gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy to di­ver­sify ex­ports by in­creas­ing the share of ex­ports out­side the EU. On the so­cial front, one is pleased to note that the lat­est fig­ures pub­lished by Euro­stat show that the atrisk-of-poverty or so­cial ex­clu­sion rate which was on an in­creas­ing trend from 2006 to 2013, ris­ing from 19.5% in 2006 to 24%, has not only sta­bilised but also de­creased to 23.8% in 2014. Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to con­tinue ad­dress­ing per­sons who are at risk of poverty or so­cial ex­clu- sion in line with the EU 2020 tar­gets. In this re­gard, the 2016 Bud­get con­tains a num­ber of mea­sures aimed at en­sur­ing a bet­ter dis­tri­bu­tion of in­come fo­cus­ing on the more vul­ner­a­ble groups, such as the sin­gle earner fam­i­lies with chil­dren, youths and the el­derly. In­deed, the in-work ben­e­fit scheme, which has been ex­tended to in­clude those low-in­come fam­i­lies who are de­pen­dent on a sin­gle earner; the rais­ing of the tax-free in­come thresh­olds for the sin­gle, mar­ried and parental com­pu­ta­tions; the re­forms to so­cial as­sis­tance en­ti­tle­ment, the rais­ing of the min­i­mum pen­sions for sin­gle pen­sion­ers and mar­ried cou­ples and other ini­tia­tives to cater for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, were all mea­sures aimed at re­duc­ing the atrisk-of-poverty or so­cial ex­clu­sion rate.

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