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Source: United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
31 May 2011

May 2011

Since 1996 UNSCO has continually monitored and reported on socioeconomic conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and, in the process, established an extensive socio-economic database. UNSCO does not produce primary data but rather makes use of available data, that in oPt are relatively abundant. The information that is available, however, often remains dispersed and is not automatically shared between institutions. The objective of the database is to collate a wide range of social and economic indicators in one location, and, through the report, present a broad perspective on socio-economic conditions in oPt.

The purpose of the present report is to: 1) broaden the access to the information contained in the 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 seven sections, as follows:

Section I. consists of a one-page fact sheet that provides a snapshot view of the socio-economic situation for the current and previous reporting periods.

Sections II. and III. report on the macro-economic and fiscal situation, and sections IV. and V. give an overview of developments in the banking and private sectors, respectively. Section VI. deals with trade, and Section VII. is dedicated to issues on Gaza.

Two annexes provide detailed reference information. Annex A presents detailed statistical reference tables, and Annex B lists the main socioeconomic terms used in this report along with their corresponding definitions.

Topics of current interest are analyzed in-depth in periodic “Supplements”. Most sections provide data on the six preceding reporting periods for each indicator and, for comparison purposes, data for a reference period immediately before the Al-Aqsa intifada, which started in September 2000, or the closest time period available.

Note: The data for the West Bank and oPt in this report do not include occupied East Jerusalem unless otherwise specified.

For further information or to be added to the mailing list please contact:
UNSCO Ramallah: Astrid Marschatz
UNSCO Gaza Strip: Raed Raqeb
The UNSCO Socio-Economic Report is also accessible on


a/ Data not available.
b/ Preliminary data.
c/ Includes data for occupied East Jerusalem.
d/ MoNE data for August 2000 do not include aggregates or aid flows.
Sources: PCBS: production, prices, labor market; MoF: public sector; PMA: banking sector; MoNE: new company registrations; Engineering Offices and Consulting
Firms: area licensed for new construction; MoNE and General Petroleum Corporation: Gaza truck movement; UNSCO: closure and Gaza truck movement.


II.a Production
Real GDP grew by 0.4% in Q1/2011 compared to the previous quarter. In the West Bank, real GDP decreased by 4.9% in Q1/2011, whereas in the Gaza Strip it increased by 17.9%. Real GDP reached US$1,483 million in Q1/2011, of which US$1,082 million was generated in the West Bank and US$401 million in the Gaza Strip.
Real GDP Rate of Change

Source:PCBS, Preliminary Estimates of Quarterly National Accounts (Q1/2011).
Note: Base year is 2004.
Distribution of GDP

Source: PCBS, Preliminary Estimates of Quarterly National Accounts (Q1/2011).
Note: Base year is 2004.

Despite the high growth observed after 2008, the Gaza economy is relatively small and contributes only 27% of total real GDP.

Real GDP per capita in oPt was almost unchanged between Q4/2010 and Q1/2011. In the West Bank real GDP per capita fell from US$495 to US$467 in the first quarter of 2011, but it increased in Gaza from US$218 to US$255 during the same period. Real GDP per capita in Gaza is only 55% its value in the West Bank.
Real Quarterly GDP Per Capita

Source: PCBS, Preliminary Estimates of Quarterly National Accounts (Q1/2011).
Note: Base year is 2004.
Contribution to Real GDP (Select Economic Activities)

Source: PCBS, Preliminary Estimates of Quarterly National Accounts (Q1/2011)

The service sector, the biggest in the economy, expanded by 4% in real terms in Q1/2011, contributing 21% to total GDP. This sector is followed in relative importance by public administration and defense, which grew 13% in the first quarter of 2011. Manufacturing also experienced growth during the quarter, expanding by 9%, as did construction, which grew by 7%. Some of the sectors that contracted during the quarter are transport, storage and communications (10%), wholesale retail and trade (8%) and agriculture and fishing (3%).
Per Capita Expenditure in oPt

Average monthly expenditure reached JOD147.5 in 2010, with small differences between urban and rural areas. Refugee camps, however, do exhibit considerably lower per capita expenditure, JOD118.1. There is also a marked gap between the West Bank and Gaza, with average per capita expenditure at JOD173.1 in the West Bank, but expenditure in Gaza reaching only 60% of that, JOD103.1.

Average monthly expenditure per capita was higher in 2010 than in 2009, but this rise was felt only in the West Bank, where expenditure increased by 17% from JOD147.4 in 2009 to JOD173.1 in 2010. In Gaza, on the other hand, average monthly expenditure per capita fell (by less than 1%).

Average Monthly Expenditure Per Capita, 2010

Source: PCBS, PECS 2010.

I.b Prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), used to measure inflation, reflects a decrease of 0.26% in prices in May 2011 compared to the previous month, but an inflation rate of 3.2% in the year since May 2010. The highest price rises in May 2011 were in housing and transportation, while the largest price decreases were in food and soft drinks, and furniture and household goods
Consumer Price Index (2004 = 100)

Source: PCBS.
Change in Consumer Price Index by Major Expenditure Groups
May 2011

Source: PCBS.

The CPI declined in the West Bank in May, mainly due to decreases in the price of food and soft drinks, followed by furniture and household goods, and communications. The cost of restaurants, cafes and hotels, textiles, clothing and footwear, and transportation saw the biggest increases in the West Bank during the month.

In East Jerusalem the CPI was basically unchanged in May, although the price of transportation rose considerably, followed by housing. Restaurants, cafes and hotels, medical care, food and soft drinks, and furniture and household goods registered the biggest price decreases in East Jerusalem in May.

In the Gaza Strip the CPI declined by 1.2% during the month of May. The most significant decreases in prices in Gaza during the month were in food and soft drinks, furniture and household goods, and textiles, clothing and footwear. Miscellaneous goods and services exhibited the highest price increase during the month, followed by transportation and housing.

II.c Exchange rates

The NIS decreased in value against the US dollar in May and was almost constant against the euro. The JOD exchange rate to both the euro and the US dollar remained unchanged.

Average Monthly Exchange Rates

Source: PCBS.

I.d Labor market

In Q1/2011 the labor force participation rate of persons aged 15 years and above was 41%. The number of persons participating in the labor force was 996,900 – about 4,300 less than at the end of 2010. Of these, about 672,700 were in the West Bank and 324,200 were in Gaza Strip. The labor force participation rate in the West Bank reached 43.2%, while it was 37.0% in Gaza Strip. In the case of males over 15 years, 66.7% of them participated in the labor force, while only 14.7% of women over 15 years did.

Labor Force Participation Rate (%)
(Labor Force in Thousands)

Source: PCBS, Labor Force Surveys.

A total of 69% of workers are wage employees, and only 7% are employers. The self-employed and unpaid family member categories absorb 19% and 6% of workers, respectively. These categories are less likely to offer formal work arrangements, access to benefits, to protection programs or to other safety nets, and they are more likely to be affected by an economic downturn. They are therefore used to approximate “vulnerable employment”. Using this proxy, the data show that 1 in 4 workers in oPt are in a precarious work situation.

Employment by Status in Employment (%)

Average daily wages (excluding those employed in Israel and settlements) were unchanged at NIS78.9 in Q1/2011. Average wages in the West Bank fell by almost NIS1.8 during the quarter, but those in Gaza rose by NIS5.1. Similarly, average wages in the private sector fell by NIS1.1 to NIS70.6, while those in the public sector rose by NIS2.2 to reach NIS88.6, thus widening the existing gap.

Average Daily Wages (NIS)

Source: PCBS, Labor Force Surveys.
a/ Data not available.
b/ Includes tho se employed in Israel and settlements.


Government revenue in Q1/2011 was 31% higher than in the previous quarter, and 26% higher than in Q1/2010. Government non-wage expenditure decreased by 32% and net lending by 5% in the first quarter of 2011, but wage expenditure increased by 5%. The government deficit shrank considerably to US$183.1 million, but external budgetary support also fell, to US$166.3. (See further details in Table A3. in Annex A.)
Fiscal Situation
Source: Ministry of Finance.
Information on bank credit, particularly credit to productive sectors, gives an indication of economic progress and business confidence. Data for oPt show a gradual increase in the use of credit over time, and in Q1/2011 the total value of credit increased by more than 9% to reach US$3,155 million. The proportion of credit destined to businesses increased by one percentage point and represented 59% of the total in Q1/2011. The proportion of credit absorbed by consumers remained unchanged at 29% during the quarter, and that corresponding to public services decreased by one percentage point to 12%
Total Value of Bank Credit and Distribution by Borrowing Entity

Source: PMA.

Distribution of Bank Credit by Type (%)
(Bank Credit by Type in Million US$)

Source: PMA.
Note: The totals may not be exactly equal to the sum of percentages due to rounding

Q1/2011 saw an increase of 1% in total bank deposits. Deposits stem mainly from the private sector (90% of total deposits), particularly from residents (87%). The proportion corresponding to non-residents increased by almost 5% in Q1, following sharp falls Q3 and Q4/2010. The proportion of public sector deposits in total
deposits contracted by 1% in Q1/2011.

Distribution of Bank Deposits (in Million US$)

Source: PMA
Note: Data do not include deposits of the PM A and commercial banks.

Current accounts are the main form of deposits for residents and non-residents, as well as for government. (See further details in Table A6. in Annex A.)

The amount of loans relative to deposits gives an idea of the liquidity of the banking system. In a functioning economy, a relative increase in loans versus deposits (within limits) can be perceived as a positive sign, as monies are not saved but invested or consumed, which in turn stimulates the economy. In oPt, the loan-to-deposit ratio increased from 40% to 43% in Q1/2011 as loans grew much faster than deposits. (See further details in Table A7. in Annex A.)

Total Bank Loans Total Bank Deposits
and Loan-to-Deposit Ratio

Source: PMA.

The number of new companies registered in the West Bank in May was the same as in the previous month, 122. In Gaza, data show 42 new companies registered in May 2011, 68% more than in April 2011, but still less than half the pre-intifada level of 94 new registrations in August 2000. (See further details in Table A8. in Annex A).
Number of New Company Registrations

Source: Ministry of National Economy.

Area Licensed for New Construction

Source: Engineering Offices and Consulting Firms.

May 2011 data show a decrease of 21% in the area licensed for new construction in the West Bank compared to the previous month. This level is 16% lower than the pre-intifada (August 2000) level. In the Gaza Strip, on the other hand, there was an 8% increase in the area licensed for new construction in May 2011 -- a 6% increase on the pre-intifada level. This rise in the area licensed for new construction could be linked to simplified license procedures in municipalities and the availability of
construction materials from the tunnels. (See further details in Table A9. in Annex A.)

Forty-six companies from five economic sectors (banking and financial services, insurance, investments, industry, and services) are now listed in the Palestinian Stock Exchange. At the end of May 2011 market capitalization of about US$ 2.86 billion. Data for the month of May show increases of approximately 53% in the number of stocks traded and 45% in the value of shares traded. Of the 41 companies traded in the month, 11 were gainers and 25 were decliners. The Al-Quds index increased by 0.51% in May 2011.

Securities Trade

Source: Palestine Securities Exchange.

Exports of goods declined by 10% in April 2011, reaching US$61.6
million. Palestinian exports of goods to Israel declined by 9% in April,
while those to other countries decreased by 17%. Israel continues to be
the main market for Palestinian goods, absorbing 93% of total exports
from oPt in April 2011.
Goods Exports from oPt
April 2011

Source: PCBS.

Goods Imports to oPt
April 2011

Source: PCBS.

In the case of imports of goods, they decreased by 18% in April 2011, amounting to US$408.1 million. Imports from Israel decreased by 14% during the month and represented 76% of total imports. Imports from other countries decreased by 28% compared to March 2011.

A trade deficit of US$346.5 million was registered in April 2011, reflecting a 19% decrease from the previous month.

There was a significant increase in the amount of cooking gas imported in Gaza in May 2011, with 2,719 tons allowed in through Kerem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem). This represents an 18% increase compared to the volume allowed in April 2011. During the reporting period, 73,000 liters of petrol and 340,000 liters of diesel were imported for UNRWA.

Volume of Registered Fuel Sales in the Gaza Strip

Source: General Petroleum Corporation.
Note: On 1 January 2010, Israel declared Nahal Oz fuel pipelines closed, with fuel being transferred to Gaza only via Kerem Shalom.

Gaza Imports
Source: UNSCO.

Karni crossing has remained closed since 12 June 2007 for the movement of goods in and out of Gaza, and on 1 March 2011 Israel closed the conveyor belt at Karni, too.

May 2011 data show an 82% increase in the total number of truckloads imported into the Gaza Strip compared to April 2011 (See further details in Table A10. in Annex A.)

Of the 4,810 truckloads entering Gaza through Karem Shalom during the month, 3,709 (77%) were for the private sector and the remaining 1,101 (23%) were designated for humanitarian aid agencies. Food items made up 40% of imported goods (1,929.5 truckloads), while the remaining 60% of imports (2,880.5 truckloads) were non-food items. Six hundred and forty truckloads entering Gaza brought materials for approved international humanitarian building projects, including 380 truckloads (26,570 tons) of gravel, 224.5 truckloads (9,481 tons) of cement and 35.5 truckloads (919 tons) of steel bars for UNRWA, UNDP, PWA and ANERA's building projects.

Following the June 2010 decision to ease the closure of Gaza, monthly import levels have averaged 4,209 truckloads.

Gaza Imports

Source: UNSCO.
Note: The figures exclude gravel imported through Karni in February-May 2007. They also exclude imports through Rafah and Erez.

On 8 December 2010 Israel announced its intention to gradually expand the number and range of exports permitted from Gaza. According to this announcement, allowed exports will include agricultural produce, furniture and textiles

Gaza Exports

Source: UNSCO.

In May 2011 Gaza was able to export flowers to Europe. In total, 3 trucks of carnations (186,520 stems) were exported via the Kerem Shalom crossing. This represents half the number of truckloads exported from the Gaza Strip in April. On 12 May 2011, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) indicated that the cash crops exports season for 2010/2011 had ended.

ANNEX A: Statistical Reference Tables

Table A1.
Consumer Price Index (2004=100) By Major Expenditure Group

Source: PCBS.

ANNEX B: Terms and definitions

Adjusted unemployment rate The adjusted unemployment rate presents the number of unemployed according to the relaxed definition as a percentage of the labor force. The relaxed definition of unemployment includes all persons aged 15 or over who are unemployed plus those who, during the reference period, are without work, are available for work but did not seek work (and therefore could not be classified as unemployed) because they felt that no work would be available to them.The adjusted unemployment rate gives a broader measure of the unutilized supply of labor. The relaxation of the standard definition of unemployment makes sense in circumstances where the conventional means of seeking work are of limited relevance, where the labor market is largely unorganized, where labor absorption is inadequate or where the labor force is largely self-employed.

Al-Quds index: This is the primary stock index of the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE).

Area licensed for new construction: This is the area licensed for construction in new and existing buildings.

Average daily net wage: This average is calculated as the total net wages paid to all employees divided by total workdays. Wages received in different currencies are converted into New Israeli Shekels according to the exchange rate in the survey month.

Bank credit: It measures the borrowing capacity provided to individuals, firms and organizations by the banking system in the form of loans or other types of credit. Credit is generally believed to contribute to economic growth.

Bank deposits: Deposits are accounts maintained by a bank on behalf of customers. This indicator is often used to measure the safety of and people’s trust in the banking system.

Consumer Price Index (CPI): The CPI is a statistical tool used to measure changes over time in the prices paid by households for a basket of goods and services that they customarily purchase for consumption. The CPI is used to measure inflation over time.

The main categories of goods and services included in the basket of goods are: fruits, vegetables and other food items, beverages, tobacco, textiles, clothing, footwear, furniture, household appliances, household utensils, fuel, power, transportation, communications, medical and pharmaceutical products, goods for personal care, services charges for public transport, communication, hospital care, and others, and school fees. Data on prices for consumers are collected through visits conducted by trained staff to selected markets including groceries, supermarkets, markets, restaurants, general services offices, hospitals, private schools, etc.

Effective/partial closure days: Effective closure days are calculated by adding all days when a crossing is fully or partially closed, excluding weekends and holidays. Partial closure means that the crossing is closed for more than one hour but not for a full day, in which case it would be considered fully closed.Weekends and holidays include all Saturdays, half the Fridays (since labor and commercial flows are about half their normal workday level on Fridays) and universally celebrated Jewish and Muslim holidays. Jewish and Muslim holidays which fall on Saturday or Friday are not counted as a holiday but as a Saturday (full day closure) or Friday (half day closure), respectively.

Employed: The “employed” comprise all persons are 15 years or over who were working at a paid job or business for at least one hour during the week prior to the survey, or who did not work but held a job or business for at least one hour during the week prior to the survey, or who did not work but held a job or owned business from which they were temporarily absent (because of illness, vacation, temporarily stoppage, or any other reason) during the reference week.

Exchange rate: The price of one currency stated in terms of another currency is the exchange rate.

Exports: Exports are any good or commodity, shipped or otherwise transported out of the territory to another part of the world, typically for use in trade or sale. Export products or services are provided to foreign consumers by domestic producers.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): GDP is the total value of all goods and services produced within oPt in a given period of time. When GDP is expressed in constant terms (real GDP), a deflator is used to adjust for changes in money-value. Quarterly data are annualized by multiplying by 4.

GDP per capita: This is the result of the division of GDP by total population. GDP per capita = GDP/Population

GDP rate of change: The rate of change is the percentage change (increase or decrease) of GDP from the previous measurement cycle.
GDP in period (t) — GDP in period (t — 1)/GDP rate of change in period (t) X 100%

Inflation rate: The inflation rate is the percentage change in the price index over time.
Inflation rate in period (t) = Price index in period (t — 1) — Price Index in period (t — 1)/ Price Index in period (t) = 100%

Government total net revenue: It measures the net inflows received by the government, including clearance revenue, tax refunds, and tax and non-tax revenue collected by the Ministry of Finance and other ministries for the consolidated Single Treasury Account (STA).

Government wage expenditure: This is the government's outlay on the wages and salaries of permanent civilian and security employees.

Government non-wage expenditure: This is the part of government expenditure absorbed by operational expenditures, transfers and minor development and capital expenditures.

Government net lending: This term includes transfers to local government to cover clearance revenue, deductions by the Government of Israel for water and electricity, and services by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Government balance: The government balance is the difference between the government’s total net revenue and its expenditures, including wage and non-wage expenditures, net lending and development expenditures.

External budget support It consists of transfers of resources by donor countries to the Palestinian National Authority to help finance its budget.

Imports Imports are the goods and services that are produced by the foreign sector and are purchased by the domestic economy.

Industrial Production Index (IPI) This index is a statistical tool used for measuring changes in the volume of industrial production during a certain period of time. The index uses the change in volume of production for the largest establishment in each industry. The relative share for the main industrial activities represents the percent share of value added of the industrial institutions in 2009 in addition to the value added of olive presses.

Labor force: The labor force consists of all persons of working age (15 years or over) who are either employed or unemployed during a specified reference period.
labor force = employed + unemployed
Excluded from the labor force are those of working age who are neither working nor searching for work. These could be students, retired persons, those in prison, and homemakers.

Loan-to-deposit ratio: This ratio gives the amount of banks’ loans divided by the amount of their deposits. The statistic is often used to assess the banking system’s liquidity. If the ratio is too high it may imply that banks could not have enough liquidity to cover any unforeseen fund requirements. Conversely, if the ratio is too low banks may not be lending and earning as much as they could be. loan — to — deposit ratio = bank loan/bank deposits X 100%

Number of new company registrations: This is the number of new companies that register with the Ministry of National Economy to conduct business operations in oPt.

Number of shares traded: It is the amount of shares that trade hands from sellers to buyers in the market over a given period.

Underemployment: Underemployment exists when a person’s employment is inadequate in relation to specified norms or alternative employment. Time-related underemployment applies to those who involuntarily work less than the normal duration of work determined for the activity and who seek or are available for additional work during the reference week.

Unemployment rate: The "unemployed" comprise all persons aged 15 or over who, during the week before the survey, were without work, available for work and seeking work. The unemployment rate expresses the number of unemployed as a percentage of the total labor force. The indicator is widely used as a measure of unutilized labor supply.
unemployment rate = unemployed/labor force X 100%

Value of shares traded: The value of shares traded is the sum of the shares traded multiplied by their respective matching price.

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