Malta Chamber Business Observatory
The Malta Chamber launched its Business Observatory in July 2009, in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers, together with the expert advice of Dr. Gordon Cordina.
The Malta Chamber undertakes surveys in line with the Joint Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys (BCS). The sector coverage of the programme has widened considerably, since the first Manufacturing survey in 2004, so much so that the programme was extended to the Services sector in 2007, to the Construction sector and finally to the Investment survey for the manufacturing sector in 2008.
The manufacturing, services and construction surveys are currently conducted on a monthly basis with some additional questions asked on a quarterly basis. Meanwhile, the investment survey of the manufacturing sector, which gathers information on companies' investment plans, is conducted twice a year.
The objective of these surveys is to gauge perceptions and expectations of operators in the above sectors. Internationally, these surveys serve as a lead and timelier indicator of actual performance. They do not substitute official data on the performance of the sector. The programme allows comparisons among different countries' business cycles and has become a recognised tool for monitoring the evolution of the EU and the euro area economies, and applicant countries.
- The industry (manufacturing) survey is largely qualitative. The main questions refer to an assessment of recent trends in production, of the current levels of order books and stocks, as well as expectations about production, selling prices and employment. In addition, the survey provides on a quarterly basis quantitative information on two variables that are not reported in conventional statistics, namely capacity utilisation and the number of months of production assured.
- The services survey provides information about the managers' assessment of their recent business situation, and of the past and future changes in their company's turnover and employment.
- The construction survey is an important source of information concerning short-term developments in this sector.
- The retail survey is being undertaken by the Malta Chamber as of 2011.
The survey results are then used by the Malta Chamber for economic analysis. Outside the Malta Chamber, the European Central Bank and the Central Bank of Malta frequently use this survey data for both qualitative and quantitative analysis.
The Malta Chamber holds events announcing the survey results with the business community and the relevant authorities, about the short term and medium term prospects for the Maltese economy.