Traditionally, Malta has had a large trade deficit because it must import most of its food and raw materials. The expansion of industry and the improvement of living standards in recent years have further increased the deficit, which is made up by other foreign receipts in the form of tourist revenues, transfers, and financial assistance, formerly from the UK and more recently from Italy and Libya. Malta's outstanding debt stood at close to $2 billion by the end of 1999.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Malta's exports was $2 billion while imports totaled $2.8 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $800 million.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 Malta had exports of goods totaling $2 billion and imports totaling $2.5 billion. The services credit totaled $1.11 billion and debit $791 million. The following table summarizes Malta's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||-490|
|Balance on services||316|
|Balance on income||-6|
|Direct investment abroad||-7|
|Direct investment in Malta||293|
|Portfolio investment assets||-446|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||-7|
|Other investment assets||1,823|
|Other investment liabilities||-1,406|
|Net Errors and Omissions||174|
|Reserves and Related Items||-255|