What is MTL (Maltese Lira)

MTL (Maltese Lira) was the national currency of the Republic of Malta, an island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea, until 2007. 

The Lira saw circulation as legal tender in Malta between 1972 and December 31, 2007. Abbreviated Lm, and sometimes referred to with the ₤ sign, the currency of the Lira is also known as the Pound in English reference. Denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 lira banknotes circulated along with 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 lira coins. 


​​​​​​​Malta began using the Maltese Lira (MTL) in 1825 and would continue circulating that currency until December of 2007 when the country switched to the euro (EUR). Before colonization, Malta used many different currencies for transactions. During British colonial rule, The multi-currency use continued until replaced with the pound sterling (GBP) which circulated between 1925 and 1972. 

In 1971, Britain underwent decimalization. Decimalization is the process of changing the method of calculating foreign exchange and other money transactions from fraction to decimal places. This process made the pound, then in use in Malta, outdated, and in 1972 the Maltese lira began circulation. 

Malta applied for European Union membership in 1990 and fully joined in 2004. The country would join the eurozone in 2008 and began to circulate the euro (EUR).

Economic Backing for the Maltese Lira

The Republic of Malta lies off the southern coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea, near the toe of Italy's boot. The country became home to some of the most significant cultures of the ancient world, playing host to Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arab Byzantines, French Normans before becoming a British colony through a treaty at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1814. The British empire used the island as a stopping point for its ships of trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe.

During the First World War, Malta housed many wounded soldiers as they were transferred home from the fighting in Italy. Throughout the Second World War, the island's location helped the British launch attacks against the Axis powers. As a result, it received heavy bombardment. The country won its freedom in 1964 and declared a republic in December 1974.

Malta's docks, which once benefited from serving merchant ships passing through the Suez Canal, now mainly plays host to cruise ships and other smaller crafts. The docks still provide much of the country's income, along with tourism and electronic manufacturing. The government privatized some state-controlled industries including telecommunications and shipyards. These changes came as a run-up for entry into the eurozone. Business opportunities in Malta include a growing presence in the fiduciary management arena, the offshore gaming industry, and acting as a ship or aircraft registry. 

The Central Bank of Malta, founded in 1968, once handled monetary policy for the Republic. Today, the overarching governing financial authority is the Malta Financial Services (MFSA), established in 2002. MFSA operates independently and is the sole regulator of financial affairs. The MFSA took over the financial supervision tasks that were once carried out by the Central Bank of Malta, the Malta Stock Exchange, and the Malta Financial Services Centre.

According to the 2017 World Bank data, the Republic of Malta experiences a 6.4% annual gross domestic product growth with a yearly inflation deflator of 2.5-percent.