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Annual growth in business activity in line with long-term average

Annual growth in business activity in August was broadly in line with its long-term average, according to the Central Bank's Business Conditions Index, published with its economic update.

The bank said that the European Commission’s economic confidence indicator and employment expectations edged down when compared to July. However, both remained above their long-term average. 

In August, price expectations stood well below their year-ago level in the retail sector. They also stood slightly lower among consumers and services firms. By contrast, price expectations in industry and construction were above the August 2022 level.

Activity indicators, including those for the labour market were positive. 

In July, Maltese residents’ deposits were broadly unchanged in level terms from a year earlier. Meanwhile, credit expanded at a marginally faster annual rate. 

Residential building permits declined in July compared with their month-ago level but were higher in annual terms. In August, the number of promise-of-sale agreements rose on a year-on-year basis, while the number of final deeds of sales fell. 

The annual inflation rate based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices and the Retail Price Index declined further in August, to stand at 5% and 4%, respectively. 

In July, the consolidated fund recorded a lower deficit compared to a year earlier.