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Palestine’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded an increase of about 9 per cent during the first three quarters of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, a recent report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reveals.

The growth was concentrated in economic activities with the largest share of the GDP, mainly agriculture and fishing, construction and trade.

The construction sector recorded the highest growth rate of about 36 per cent, the report, published yesterday, adds.

“Quantities of imported cement increased by 10 per cent during the first three quarters of 2010, while prices of construction materials rose 1.4 per cent, compared with the same period in 2009,” the report published on the bureau’s website reads. “The total number of workers in the construction sector had increased 22 per cent during the first three quarters of 2010 compared with the same period of 2009.”

The high growth rate helped the alarming unemployment rate dip by one per cent to 24 per cent of the work force.

The unemployment rate declined in the West Bank from 17.7 per cent to 17.3 per cent and similarly in the Gaza Strip from 38.4 per cent to 37.9 per cent, albeit under siege.

Government revenues had increased by 17.3 per cent during the first three quarters of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, while government expenditures declined by 2.7 per cent.

In addition, the deficit in the general budget declined by 22.5 per cent during the first three quarters of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009.

The service sector represents about 22 per cent of GDP in the Palestinian Territory, the report revealed. This sector witnessed a slight improvement of 1 per cent.

The total number of workers in the service sector increased by 3 per cent (2.5 per cent in the West Bank and 4.4 per cent in the Gaza Strip).

As for total exports and imports, there was an increase in Value Added Tax revenues from trade with Israel. In 2010, exports increased by 8 per cent compared with 2009, while imports increased by 6 per cent compared with 2009.

Consumer prices increased by 3.9 per cent, resulting in a decline of the purchasing power.

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