L-aħħar firxa ta’ statistika dwar l-andament ekonomiku fl-ewwel tliet xhur ta’ din is-sena reġgħet ikkonfermat l-ottimiżmu li qed jinbena. Ir-rati ta’ tkabbir f’numru ta’ setturi baqgħu inkoraġġanti ħafna, ħaġa li qed tħaffef il-piżijiet tat-tmexxija finanzjarja tal-gvern.

Madankollu rridu dejjem inżommu saqajna mal-art. Hemm żgur żewġ aspetti ta’ dawn ir-riżultati li jridu jingħataw attenzjoni.

B’kejl reali, kemm l-importazzjoni u kemm l-esportazzjoni ta’ oġġetti naqsu, kif għamlet il-produzzjoni industrijali. Veru li pattew għal dan in-negozji fis-servizzi. Biss ma naqbilx ma’ min jgħid li jmissna nwarrbu l-idea li l-industrija għandha xi futur f’Malta. Kif kien hemm post għall-industrija fl-imgħoddi, hekk ukoll fil-futur.

It-tieni, ġie reġistrat tnaqqis fil-formazzjoni gross ta’ kapital (jew ta’ investiment). Tkabbir ekonomiku li qed jiġi mbuttat mill-konsum u fejn l-investiment ma jirrankax jista’ jkun perikoluż għax malajr jittajjar mal-ewwel riefnu.

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Prezz tal-bini

Għal xi żmien, b’mod eċċezzjonali għal Malta, l-ilmenti kienu li mhux qed ikun hemm bejgħ biżżejjed fis-suq tal-proprjetà.

Imbagħad donnha li nqalbet il-folja, għalkemm wieħed kien jaqbillu joqgħod b’seba’ għajnejn li ma jiblax kull storja li jisma’.

Issa jidher li r-rapporti li l-prezz tal-bini f’Malta reġa’ stejqer ma kinux xnigħat imma verità. L-għajnuniet li ta l-gvern lil min qed jixtri għall-ewwel darba żgur servew biex isostnu l-prezzijiet. Meta jiżdied in-numru ta’ bejjiegħa prospettivi fis-suq, hi ħaġa ovvja li se jkun hemm pressjoni fuq il-prezzijiet.

Biss fattur aktar qawwi li jispjega x’inhu jiġri hu l-istess fatt tat-titjib ekonomiku. Mhux biss sempliċiment li ċ-ċittadini jaħsbu li qed iħossuhom aħjar; fir-realtà l-qagħda tagħhom tkun tjiebet. Allura jitħajru jixtru l-proprjetà.

Issa se nisimgħu aktar dwar problema oħra: xerrejja, l-aktar koppji żgħażagħ, li jilmentaw kif il-prezzijiet qed jogħlew wisq u se jkunu jistgħu jlaħħqu magħhom anqas u anqas.

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Bojkott

Ħaġa stramba qed tiġri bl-embargo li r-Russi infurzaw bi tpattija għas-sanzjonijiet li għamlulhom l-Ewropej minħabba l-konfront fl-Ukrajna. Suppost li b’dak li qed jiġri, kulħadd mar għall-agħar. Mentri mhux hekk qed jintqal.

Mir-Russja ħerġin rapporti li ħadu r-ruħ bl-embargo fuq prodotti Ewropej fabbriki Russi li kienu qed jaqilgħuha bl-importazzjoni Ewropea. Issa qed jerġgħu jirbħu lura s-swieq ta’ pajjiżhom. Tgħallmu l-lezzjoni li jridu jtejbu l-kwalità ta’ li joffru, qed ikabbru l-bejgħ u jaħsbu biex jinvestu.

U mill-Ewropa ħarġu rapporti li mhux talli esportaturi ta’ hemm ma waqgħux lura għax tilfu s-suq Russu, talli qed jirnexxilhom iżidu l-bejgħ tagħhom fi nħawi oħra tad-dinja.

Għadha tgħodd l-għajta li kull deni għandek tieħdu b’ġid.

 

English Version – Watch it

The latest batch of published statistics about economic performance during the first quarter of the year again confirmed the optimism that has gained ground. The rates of growth in a number of sectors have stayed very encouraging, which is making the government’s financial commitments easier to manage.

However as always, we need to keep our feet on the ground. Two aspects of the data surely need to be monitored.

In real terms imports and exports of goods have both declined, as has industrial production. It is true that trade in services compensated for this. However I disagree with those people who claim that we should discard the idea that there is a future for industry in Malta. As there was scope for industry in the past, so should there be in the future.

Secondly, a drop in gross capital formation was registered. Economic growth that is being led by consumption while investment fails to take off, could become risk prone and get blown away by the first strong winds that arise.

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House prices

Exceptionally, for a while there were complaints that sales had slackened in the Maltese property market.

Then there were whispers about how things were coming back to “normal”, though it made sense to take care and not believe every story that came one’s way.

Now it seems that reports about how Maltese house prices had tightened were not rumours but fact. The government scheme which helped first time buyers contributed to make prices firmer. When more buyers enter the market, it is obvious that price pressures will multiply.

Still the very fact that the economy is growing provides a more powerful explanation for what is going on. Citizens do not simply share a perceptionthat they are doing better. It is a reality today that their situation has improved. So the idea of buying a house becomes more attractive.

Soon now we’ll be hearing about this development in reverse: buyers, especially young couples will be complaining that prices have become too high and they can afford them less and less.

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Boycott

Strange assessments have been reported regarding the embargo that the Russians imposed on EU imports in retaliation for the sanctions that the Europeans inflicted on them because of the Ukrainian conflict. The fear was that both sides would suffer badly as a result of this tit for tat. Not so, according to reports.

News from Russia has been that factories there which had been squeezed by European imports got a boost when these were embargoed. They are already winning back their share of home markets, having learnt the lesson that they need to improve product quality. As their sales rise, they are planning new investments.

European news reports on the other hand claim that not only have European exporters not lost ground globally because of their loss of the Russian market, but they have overall increased their sales by diversifying to other world markets.

There must be some point to the slogan that all’s well that ends well.