What Is the Maltese Lira (MTL)?

The Maltese Lira (MTL) was the national currency of the Republic of Malta prior to being replaced by the Euro (EUR) in 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 Maltese Lira is also sometimes referred to as the Maltese Pound. Denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 lira banknotes circulated along with 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 lira coins. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Maltese Lira (MTL) was the national currency of Malta prior to its adoption of the Euro (EUR) in 2007.
  • Malta has had a long history dating back nearly 8,000 years. Prior to achieving independence in 1964, Malta had been a British colony.
  • Malta’s strategic location has helped it develop a strong economy, boasting among the highest rates of per-capita income in the world.

Understanding the MTL

The Republic of Malta is a small island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea. The country has an extremely long history, having shown signs of human inhabitation dating back nearly 8,000 years. Because of its long history and strategic position in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta has been influenced by a diverse range of cultures over the years and has long been a central trading hub for the region. 

Malta was a British colony between 1813 and has undergone several significant political changes in recent decades. In 1964, Malta became independent from Britain and subsequently joined the European Union in 2004. In 2007, it adopted the EUR as its official currency prior to joining the Eurozone on January 1st 2008.

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. In its current role, the MFSA is responsible for all of the financial supervision tasks that were previously carried out by the Central Bank of Malta, the Malta Stock Exchange, and the Malta Financial Services Centre.

Real World Example of the MTL

Because Malta now uses the EUR rather than the MTL, the strength of its currency is related to the economies of all European Union countries rather than being solely reliant on its own economy. Nevertheless, the economy of Malta is still one of the factors supporting the long-run strength of its currency, the EUR.Malta is a highly developed economy with a per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) of roughly $30,000 U.S. dollars (USD). It ranks highly on international indices of wealth, innovation, and quality of life.

Today, Malta’s economy is based largely on the services sector, comprising 76% of the 2019 GDP. Financial services in particular are especially important to the nation’s economy, with Malta serving as a major banking and insurance center. Due to its central Mediterranean location and its proximity to the Suez Canal, Malta is a significant hub for maritime trade. In 2019, Malta transported 5.2 million tonnes of seaborne freight.