Finance Minister Tonio Fenech is projecting an exit from recession by the first six months of 2010.
Asked by Business Today about the latest Eurostat figures on GDP for the EU and the Euro Area, for Q3 of 2009 which have shown growth following five consecutive negative growth figures, and when would Malta start coming out of the economic recession like the EU, Fenech said: “It is a bit speculative trying to see how are getting out of the recession now but we have started seeing the signs that the global economies, including Malta, will start recovering.
“When the Maltese economy is in recession – and all economists recognise this – we get into recession slightly later and will get out of it slightly later,” Fenech told Business Today.
“Our hope is that in the first half of the year, we will also see the signs of recovery in our country,” the Finance Minister added.
Fenech added that the Eurostat forecast was an average, “because not all EU Member States respond in the same manner.
“For instance, the United Kingdom there is a whole debate as to whether the country has indeed come out of the recession or not. At first they thought that they had come out the recession but new statistics have shown that it had not,” he added.
On Friday, Eurostat estimated that the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the previous quarter. In the eurozone, growth was 0.4 per cent (0.2 per cent higher) when compare to Q2 of 2009.
The euro area’s largest economy, Germany was among the best performers, with growth of 0.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter. France, however, recorded growth of only 0.3 per cent, identical to the amount of growth it achieved in quarter two, 0.2-0.3 per cent less than expected.
Austria and Portugal, achieved the highest increases in the EU — 0.9 per cent of GDP each.
Estonia, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Hungary, Romania and the UK all contracted in the third quarter of 2009. Estonia, whose economy shrank by 2.8 per cent compared to the previous three-month period, was the worst achiever in the EU in the third quarter of 2009.
Malta, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Finland, and Sweden had not supplied their statistics in time for the compilation of the Eurostat press release.