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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
31 July 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 0.76% in July 2009 compared to June 2009.

The volume of registered fuel sales in the Gaza Strip continued to increase in July 2009. This month, for the first time since 3 November 2008, an amount of 40,000 liters of petrol and 22,000 liters of diesel were allowed into Gaza, and there was a significant increase in the amount of
imported cooking gas with 4, 7 tones (+ 76.8% compared to June 2009). During the reporting period. 50,500 liters of Petrol, 401,000 liters of diesel were imported for UNRWA. And 149,410 liters of diesel were imported for M.O.H.

The Palestinian CPI reached 124.22 in July 2009, an increase of 0.60% compared to June 2009, with most of the increase being experienced in the West Bank. Increases were recorded in the food and soft drink group (1.63%) in the medical care group (0.39%) in Housing (1.34%) and in Textiles, clothing and footwear (0.29% each). Furniture, household goods experienced a 0.77% decline, Miscellaneous goods and services index declined by 1.78%, and a price decrease was also recorded in Recreational, cultural goods & services 0.93%.

Truckloads 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 truckloads of flowers (204,000 flowers) were exported. July 2009 data indicates a decline in the total of imported truckloads to the Gaza Strip by approximately 13%, when compared to June 2009. The 486 truckloads that crossed in through Al Montar/Karni were limited to animal feed 77%, chickpeas 2%, and wheat 21%. Of the 1,526 truckloads crossing in through Karem Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom, 390 truckloads (or 25.56%) were humanitarian and 1,136 truckloads (or 74.44%) were for the private sector, Food items made up the majority of imported goods (1,045 truckloads, or 68%) while 481 truckloads, or 32%, were for non food items.

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 July 2009 by 6.08%, when compared to June 2009. If compared to pre-Intifada levels, new company registrations have dropped by approximately 39.30%. 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 19 new registered companies for July 2009. If considering data from authorities in Gaza, the number of newly registered companies in Gaza declined by approximately 32.14% compared to June 2009.

Similar to new company registrations, the area licensed for new construction is also used as a proxy indicator for economic vitality. July 2009 data shows an increase in the area licensed for new construction of approximately 44.66% compared to the previous month in the West Bank. When
compared to pre intifada levels, area licensed for new construction has decreased by 1.82%.

If disaggregated by type, and if compared with Q1-2009, it appears that in Q2-2009 non-residential and residential construction increased in the oPt by 11.58%, while residential construction has increased by 11.07% 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 28.75% in Q2-2009 when compared with Q1-2009. (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 overdrafts. Loans currently represent 63.8% 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 Q2-2009 compared to Q1-2009.

Bank deposits for the Q2-2009 indicate a decrease in public sector deposits of approximately 5.03% and increase in private sector deposits 4.67% compared with the Q1-2009.

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. Q2-2009 figures however marked the second quarterly increase after two years of decline, with a 13.97% jump from Q1-2009.

Similar to bank credit and deposits, data on the Palestinian stock exchange is used as a proxy indicator of Palestinian perceptions vis-à-vis the state of the national economy. Data for July 2009 shows a declined in trade at the stock exchange in terms of value of approximately 55.39% and in terms of number of stocks traded of approximately 71.58 %. The Al-Quds index declined by 6.87% from June 2009.

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