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Weaker confidence recorded from business sector

Only services remain strong

In March, the Central Bank of Malta's Business Conditions Index eased slightly over the previous month, but continued to suggest above-average conditions, according to the CBM's economic update published on Tuesday.

Similarly, economic sentiment, though still above its long-term average, fell during the month, reflecting weaker confidence across all sectors, with the exception of services.

In February, retail sales and tourism activity grew at a strong pace in annual terms. Industrial production contracted for the second consecutive month.

Labour market conditions remained favourable, with the number of registered unemployed falling in annual terms. The unemployment rate remained at the lowest level on record.

Price pressures remained moderate in February, with the annual rate of inflation based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices up slightly to 1.3 per cent.

Growth in Maltese residents' deposits decelerated to 5.9 per cent in February, while annual growth in credit to residents fell to 0.9 per cent.

As regards fiscal developments, the cash-based Consolidated Fund showed a smaller surplus compared with February 2017.

The Economic Update is available on the website of the Central Bank of Malta www.centralbankmalta.org.

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