Sustained high volumes across MGS

The high level of trading activity in the Malta Government Stock market persisted also today as a further €5.7 million worth of local Government paper changed hands. In total, €28.7 million worth of Malta Government Stocks were exchanged in the past five sessions ahead of next week’s new stock issues. 33.6% of this value was traded in the 5.2% MGS 2031 (I) with its price ranging between a low of 101.65% to a high of 102.73%. The price of the 19-year bond closed the week at 102.16%.

Later on this afternoon the Treasury will publish the prices of the 3 new Malta Government Stock issues announced earlier this week. A total of €300 million will be on offer across the following stocks: (i) 4.25% MGS 2017 (III) (Fungibility Issue); (ii) 4.3% MGS 2022 (II) and (iii) 5.2% MGS 2031 (I) (Fungibility Issue). The subscription period for the General Public will take place between Wednesday 1 February and Friday 3 February.

On the local equity market, Malta International Airport plc slipped 0.6% lower to €1.74 on a single trade of 7,200 shares. During a press conference held this morning, the airport operator confirmed the 6.5% increase in passenger movements in 2011 to a record 3.5 million passengers. The Company also revealed the 2012 forecast of a 2.8% decline in passenger numbers over 2011 as MIA expect demand for travel to drop as a result of the prevailing economic scenario which will offset the new routes to be introduced by Air France and Ryanair. Nonetheless, the Company’s 2012 forecast is still 3% higher than the previous record registered in 2010.

Meanwhile, the share price of Bank of Valletta plc edged minimally higher to €2.25 (representing a weekly increase of 1.4%) while HSBC Bank Malta plc closed unchanged today at the €2.56 level but still ended the week 0.4% higher.

The only other active equity, Middlesea Insurance plc, failed to recover from its 20-month low as a further 1,036 shares were exchanged at the €0.72 level – this week’s worst performer with a slump of 10%.

Overall, the MSE Share Index retreated by 0.5% this week to 3,065.923 points as the positive performances by the three largest banks and MaltaPost plc were offset by the declines in International Hotel Investments plc, GO plc, FIMBank plc and Middlesea Insurance plc.