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

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
30 April 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 slightly increase in April 2009.

Volume of registered fuel sales in the Gaza Strip has continued to decline in April 2009. No Gasoline and no Benzene have been imported for the private sector since November 3rd 2008, and only 3.5 tons of Gas were allowed in for the private sector, during the reporting period. 30,000 liters
of Benzene (95) and 298,400 liters of Gasoline were imported for UNRWA in April 2009.

The Palestinian CPI reached 122.55 in April 2009, a decline of (0.21%) percent compared to March 2009. Significant declined were recorded in the food and soft drink group (0.69%), increase miscellaneous goods and services 0.42%, decline housing (0.76%) and furniture and household goods (0.17%). The medical care group declined by (0.34%), followed by the communication and transportation groups by increase 1.19% each.

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. April 2009 data indicates a decline in the total of imported truckloads to the Gaza Strip by approximately 23, if compared to March 2009. The 554 trucks that crossed in through Karni were limited to animal feed,
sesame, and wheat. Of the 1902 trucks crossing in through Kerem Shalom, 622 were humanitarian trucks and 1280 trucks were for the private sector.

For further information please contact: Gaza Strip: Raed Raqeb

The number of new companies 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 slightly increased in April 2009 by 1.9%, if compared to March
2009. However, if compared to pre-Intifada levels, new company registrations have significantly dropped by approximately 27%. 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 26 new registered companies for April 2009. If considering data from authorities in Gaza, then for the number of newly registered companies in Gaza declined in April 2009.

Similar to new company registrations, the area licensed for new construction is also used as a proxy indicator for economic vitality. April 2009 data indicates a marked decreased in the area licensed for new construction, if compared with March 2009 data, by approximately 22.5%. If compared to pre intifada levels, area licensed for new construction decreased by 50%.

If disaggregated by type, and if compared with Q3-2008, it appears that in Q4-2008 non-residential and residential construction decreased in the oPt by 9.7% and 18.36%, respectively. 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 an increase in the use of credit. Bank credit to the public sector also indicates a decrease of approximately 4.8% in Q4-2008 when compared with Q3-2008. (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 both loans and bank overdrafts. Loans currently represent 60.8 percent of all credit extended compared to only 41% in the pre-Intifada period.

Disaggregating bank credit by borrowing entities shows that consumer lending has decreased in Q4-2008 compared to Q3-2008.

Bank deposits for the Q4-2008 indicate a decrease in private deposits, and increase in public sector deposits. Compared with the Q3-2008.

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 has steadily declined in the oPt signaling little optimism in the prospects for the Palestinian economy, which limits appetite for domestic investment and thus increases deposits. 4th quarter 2008 figures marked the first quarterly increase after a two-year of decline.

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 April 2009 shows an decrease in trade at the stock exchange in terms of value and in terms of number of
stocks traded. The Al-Quds index slightly increased in April, 0.60% if compared to March 2009.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter