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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
30 December 2010

Since 1996 UNSCO has continually monitored and reported on socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory and in the process established an extensive socio-economic database. UNSCO does not create raw data but rather uses available data which, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), are relatively abundant. However, the data that are available tend to remain dispersed and are not always automatically shared between institutions. The objective of the database is to bring together in one place a wide variety of data on socioeconomic conditions and by doing so present a broader, more detailed perspective on socioeconomic conditions. The purpose of this report is to: 1) broaden the access to this database through publication of the most recent data gathered; and 2) provide readers with up-to-date information on socio-economic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The report is divided into four sections:

Section 1 consists of a one-page fact sheet which provides a snapshot view of the socioeconomic situation for the current and previous reporting periods and it provides, for reference purposes, baseline figures for the period just prior to the outbreak of the second Intifada. Sections 2 and 3 report on the macro-economic situation and economic activity throughout the oPt, including private sector and banking activity. Section 4 focuses on access of goods in and out of the Gaza strip. All sections provide data on the last six reporting periods for each indicator as well as baseline data, which are pre Al-Aqsa intifada. In addition, a summary analysis on observed trends is presented below each table.

For further information please contact: Gaza Strip: Raed Raqeb

1 The base year for GDP is 2004.
2 These numbers may be adjusted.
3 No available baseline data on the year 2000.
4 These numbers may be adjusted.
5 For a more detailed report on sections C (Macro-economy) and D (Private sector), see data below.
6 CPI base year for 2004 = 100.
7 MoNE data do not include aggregates or aid flows in Aug 2000.
8 For indicators measured on a monthly basis, August 2000 is used as a baseline since Intifada broke out.
9 Adjusted unemployment is calculated by adding discouraged workers (i.e. unemployed but no longer seeking work) to the ILO standard.
10 Effective closure days are calculated by adding all days when a crossing was fully or partially closed, excluding weekends and holidays. Partial closure means that the crossing was partially closed for more than one hour but not for a full day, where it would be considered full closure. Karni - conveyor belt/chute —The conveyor belt/chute for cereals and animal feed at Karni is the only operational one. Rafah Crossing for passengers is partially opened for humanitarian purposes.

The Palestinian CPI reached 131.36 in December 2010, a decline of 0.10% compared to November 2010. Increases were recorded in the Transportation sector (0.17%), in Miscellaneous goods and services (0.21%) Textiles, clothing and footwear (0.30%) and Medical care (0.48%), while the Food and soft drinks sector experienced a 0.46% price decline.

According to the relaxed definition of unemployment, the percentage of persons who are able but do not work regardless of seeking or not seeking jobs, increased from 28.6% in the 2nd quarter 2010 to 33.3% In the 3rd quarter of 2010, compared with 31.4% in the 3rd quarter 2009. According to the ILO standards, the percentage of persons who do not work but are seeking jobs increased between the 2nd quarter 2010 and the 3rd quarter of 2010. The results show that the percentage of unemployed increased from 22.9% in the 2nd quarter 2010 to 26.6% in the 3rd quarter of 2010, as compared with 25.8% in the 3rd quarter of 2009. In the West Bank it increased from 15.2% in the 2nd quarter 2010 to 20.1% in the 3rd quarter of 2010. The unemployment rate also increased in Gaza Strip, from 39.3% in the 2nd quarter 2010 to 40.5% in the 3rd quarter of 2010. Hebron governorate has the highest unemployment rate among the West Bank governorates (25.0%), followed by Bethlehem governorate (24.7%), while Jerusalem governorate has the lowest unemployment rate (13.3%). For Gaza Strip, Khan Younis governorate has the highest unemployment rate (46.2%), followed by North Gaza governorate (41.8%), and Deir AlBalah governorate (41.5%).

11Adjusted unemployment is the total number of unemployed in addition to those who are unemployed and do not seek any employment.

The exchange rate between the US dollar and the NIS declined by approximately 0.90% in December 2010 compared to November 2010.

New company registrations in the West Bank increased by 54.17% compared to November 2010. When compared to pre-Intifada levels, new company registrations have declined by approximately 18.98%. For Gaza, data from the local Ministry of Economy indicate 25 new registered companies in December 2010. On such basis, the number of newly registered companies in Gaza shows a decline of approximately 19.35% compared to November 2010.

Similar to bank credit and deposits, data on the Palestinian stock exchange are used as a proxy indicator of Palestinian perceptions vis-à-vis the state of the national economy. Data for December 2010 show an increase in terms of the number of stocks traded of approximately 90.73% and an increase in terms of value of shares traded of approximately 31.59%. The Al-Quds index increased by 1.81%.


Similar to new company registrations, the area licensed for new construction is also used as a proxy indicator for economic vitality. December 2010 data show an increase in the area licensed for new construction of approximately 260.99% compared to the previous month in the West Bank. When compared to pre intifada levels, area licensed for new construction has now increased by 123.71%. The reason for the large increase in construction as suggested by the data for December is that all non-completed construction are resubmitted for licenses by year end to ensure that new licenses will be issued for the next year.

The Palestine Monetary Authority provides adjusted data once every three months. In relative terms, Local and foreign trade finance and Other public services show an increase in the use of credit. Bank credit to the Total public sector increased by approximately 7.34% in Q3-2010 when compared with Q2-2010. (Please note that the PMA adjusted the indicators for bank credit by economic activities starting Q3-2008. Due to such significant changes in the methodology, current trends cannot be compared to those prior to 2008.)

Disaggregating bank credit by the type of credit, the data show an increase in loans and overdrafts. Loans currently represent 70.1% of all credit extended compared to only 41% in the pre-Intifada period.

Disaggregating bank credit by borrowing entity shows that consumer lending has experienced an increase of approximately 7.34 % in Q3-2010 compared to Q2-2010.

Bank deposits for the Q3- 2010 indicate an increase in Total public sector deposits of approximately 1.24% and an increase in Total private sector deposits of 4.13% compared with Q2- 2010.

In a functioning economy, an increase in the loans versus deposits ratio is perceived as a positive sign, as monies are not saved but invested or consumed, both of which acts as a stimulant for the economy. Since September 2006, this ratio had steadily declined in the oPt, signaling little optimism in the prospects for the Palestinian economy. However, Q3-2010 shows an increase in total loans of approximately 7.28%, and an increase in total deposits of 5.46% compared with Q2- 2010.

There was a significant increase in the amount of imported cooking gas, with 2,742 tons allowed in through Kerem Shalom, which represents a 26.36% increase compared to the volume allowed in November 2010. During the reporting period, 135,020 liters of Diesel were imported for the private sector. On 1 January 2010, Israel declared Nahal Oz fuel pipelines closed, with fuel being transferred to Gaza only via Kerem Shalom.

Exports have stopped altogether except for limited agricultural exports in December 2010. Israel allowed Gaza to export strawberries and flowers to Europe. In December 2010, 91 trucks of strawberries (171.1 tonnes), 7 trucks of carnations (996,000 stems) and 1 truck of vegetables to West Bank were exported through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. December 2010 data indicate an increase in the total number of imported truckloads to the Gaza Strip of approximately 8% compared to November 2010 (4,437 vs. 4,091). Karni crossing has remained closed since 12 June 2007 for the movement of goods in and out of Gaza. The single conveyor belt/chute for cereals and animal feed at Karni was open for a total of 9 days. 1,054 truckloads of animal feed (38.2%), wheat (41.84%) and gravel (19.9%) for UNRWA, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and the Palestinian Water Authority entered Gaza via the conveyor belt. Of the 3,260 truckloads entering Gaza during the month through Karem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem), 170 (or 5.21%) were designated for humanitarian aid agencies and the remaining 3,090 (or 94.79%) were for the private sector. Food items made up the smallest proportion of imported goods (1,309 truckloads, or 40%) while 1,951 truckloads, or 60%, were for non-food items.

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