Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
31 May 2009

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 is relatively abundant. However, the data that is available tends to remain dispersed and is not always
automatically shared between institutions. The objective of the database is to bring together in one place a wide variety of data on socio-economic conditions and by doing so present a broader, more detailed perspective on socio-economic 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 three 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 period and it provides, for reference purposes, base line figures for the period just prior to the outbreak of the second Intifada.

Sections 2 and 3 report on the Macro-economic situation, the Private sector and the banking modules of the UNSCO database. They provide data on the last six reporting periods for each indicator as well as base line data, which is pre Al-Aqsa intifada. In addition, summary analysis on observed trends is given below each table.

1 These numbers may be adjusted
2 For a more detailed report on sections C (Macro-economy) and D (Private sector), see data below.
3 CPI Base year 2004 = 100
4 MoNE data does not include aggregates or aid flows in Aug 2000.
5 * Please note that data for Q3-2008 has been adjusted by the PMA for all bank credit categories.
6 Adjusted unemployment is calculated by adding discouraged workers (i.e. unemployed but no longer seeking work) to the ILO standard.
7 Effective closure days are calculated by adding all days when a crossing was fully or partially closed excluding weekend and holidays.
For further information please contact: Gaza Strip: Raed Raqeb

The exchange rate between the US dollar and the NIS declined by approximately 2.8% in May 2009 compared to April 2009.

The volume of registered fuel sales in the Gaza Strip continued to decline in May 2009. No Gasoline and no Benzene have been imported for the private sector since November 3rd 2008, and only 5.4 tons of Gas were allowed in for use by the private sector during the reporting period. 30,000
liters of Benzene (95) were imported for UNRWA, and 100,000 liters of Gasoline were imported for M.O.H in May 2009.

The Palestinian CPI reached 123.05 in May 2009, an increase of 0.40% compared to April 2009, with most of the increase being experienced in the West Bank, while prices, on average, fell in the Gaza Strip. Declines were recorded in the food and soft drink group (0.02%) for miscellaneous goods and services (0.05%) for furniture and household goods (0.78%) and in communication and transportation groups (0.10% each).. Housing related prices experienced a 0.08% increase. The medical care group index increased by 0.45%, and increase were also recorded in Textiles, clothing and footwear (+0.56%).

Truck movement into Gaza has been restricted to humanitarian supplies since 12 June 2006. At the same time, exports have stopped altogether except for limited agricultural exports. On February 2nd 2009 and in time for Valentine's day, Israel allowed Gaza to export 50,000 flowers to Europe. In April 2009, 5 trucks of flowers (204,000 flowers) were exported. May 2009 data indicates an increase in the total of imported truckloads to the Gaza Strip by approximately 8%, if compared to April 2009. The 642 trucks that crossed in through Karni were limited to animal feed,
sesame, chickpeas and wheat. Of the 2,023 trucks crossing in through Kerem Shalom, 723 were humanitarian trucks and 1,300 trucks were for the private sector.

For further information please contact: Gaza Strip: Raed Raqeb

The number of new company registrations is used as a proxy indicator for the vitality of the local economy as well as the ability of the local economy to create new employment. New company registrations in the West Bank declined in May 2009 by 28.7%, if compared to April 2009. If compared to pre-Intifada levels, new company registrations have dropped by approximately 48.03%. As for Gaza, figures from the Ministry of Economy in Ramallah show that no new companies were registered, while data from the authorities in Gaza indicate 33 new registered companies for May 2009. If considering data from authorities in Gaza, then for the number of newly registered companies in Gaza increased by approximately 21.2% in May 2009.

Similar to new company registrations, the area licensed for new construction is also used as a proxy indicator for economic vitality. May 2009 data shows an increase in the area licensed for new construction, of approximately 24.3% compared to the previous month. If compared to pre intifada levels, area licensed for new construction has decreased by 34.3%.

If disaggregated by type, and if compared with Q4-2008, it appears that in Q1-2009 non-residential and residential construction decreased in the opt by 1.9%, while residential construction has increased by 24%. It is worth noting that obtaining data for Gaza is not possible due to the closing of the PCBS office in Gaza.

Data on bank credit is another proxy indicator for economic progress and business confidence (increasing use of bank credit, particularly in the main productive sectors) or decline (decreasing use of bank credit). The Palestine Monetary Authority provides adjusted data once every three months. In relative terms, general trade and Public Services show a decrease in the use of credit. Bank credit to the public sector also indicates an increase of approximately 8% in Q1-2009 when compared with Q4-2008. (Please note the PMA has 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 shows an increase in loans and a decrease in bank overdrafts. Loans currently represent 62.9% t of all credit extended compared to only 41% in the pre-Intifada period.

Disaggregating bank credit by borrowing entities shows that consumer lending has increased in Q1-2009 compared to Q4-2008.

Bank deposits for the Q1-2009 indicate a decrease in private deposits and public sector deposits compared with the Q4-2008.

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, each 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,.Q1- 2009 figures marked the first quarterly increase after a two-year of decline.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter