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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
31 December 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
7 Effective closure days are calculated by adding all days when a crossing was fully or partially closed excluding weekend and holiday. Karni - conveyor belt/chute -The conveyor belt/chute for cereals and animal feed at Karni is the only operational one.

For further information please contact: Gaza Strip: Raed Raqeb

The exchange rate between the US dollar and the NIS increased by approximately 0.53% in December 2009 compared to November 2009.

The volume of registered fuel sales in the Gaza Strip continued to decline in December 2009. At the same time, there was a significant increased in the amount of imported cooking gas with 2, 7 tons allowed in (121.82% of the volume allowed in November 2009). 1,449 tons were pumped through the newly established fuel pipelines at Kerem Shalom. During the reporting period. 36,500 liters of petrol were imported for private sector.

The Palestinian CPI reached 127.75 in November 2009, an increase of 0.58% compared to November 2009. Increases were recorded in Food and soft drinks (1.13%), in Textiles, Clothing and Footwear (0.67%) Housing (0.45%) and in Miscellaneous goods and services (0.99% each). The
Medical care sector experienced a 0.38% price decline.

Exports have stopped altogether except for limited agricultural exports in December 2009. Israel allowed Gaza to export flowers to Europe. In December 2009, 6 trucks of flowers (394,340 flowers were exported. December 2009 data indicates a decline in the total number of imported truckloads to the Gaza Strip by approximately 5%, compared to November 2009 (2,597 vs. 2,727.5). 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. 631 truckloads of animal feed (55%), wheat (43%) and gravel (2%) for the Water Authority entered Gaza via the conveyor belt. Of the 1,914 truckloads entering Gaza during the month through Karem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem), 281 (or 14.68%) were designated for humanitarian aid agencies and theremaining 1,633 (or 85.32%) were for the private sector. Food items made up the majority of imported goods (1,191.5 truckloads, or 62%) while 722.5 truckloads, or 38%, 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 increased by 46.79% compared to November 2009. When compared to pre-Intifada levels, new company registrations have dropped by approximately 30.13%. 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 18 new registered companies for December 2009. If considering data from authorities in Gaza, the number of newly registered companies in Gaza declined by approximately 14.29% compared to November 2009.

Similar to new company registrations, the area licensed for new construction is also used as a proxy indicator for economic vitality. December 2009 data shows an increase in the area licensed for new construction of approximately 206.80% compared to the previous month in the West Bank. When compared to pre intifada levels, area licensed for new construction has now increased by 79.82%. 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.

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 indicates a decrease of approximately 3.56% in Q3-2009 when compared with Q2-2009. (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 66.4% 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 a decrease of approximately 3.56% in Q3 -2009 compared to Q2-2009.

Bank deposits for the Q3- 2009 indicate an increase in public sector deposits of approximately 22.01% and an increase in private sector deposits of 4.19% compared with Q2- 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.Q3- 2009 figures however marked the second quarterly increase after two years of decline, with a 7.68% jump from Q2- 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 December 2009 shows an increase in terms of value of shares traded of approximately 114.96% and in terms of number of stocks traded of approximately 62.42%. The Al-Quds index declined by 1.82%.

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