Palestine’s 5 biggest exports are monument or building stones, plastic packing lids and caps, olive oil, dates or figs and mangoes or avocados, and iron or steel scrap. Collectively, that quintet of exported products account for about a third (33.2%) of overall revenues for Palestinian exports during 2019.
Given Palestine’s population of 4.7 million people, its total $1.2 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $240 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
Palestine’s unemployment rate was 26% as of July 2019, down from 26.9% one year earlier per Trading Economics.
Palestine’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Palestinian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Palestine.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, monumental or building stone represent Palestine’s most valuable exported product followed by ethylene polymers, virgin olive oil, tobacco cigarettes and fresh or chilled cucumbers.
- Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: US$188.4 million (17.1% of total exports)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $125.3 million (11.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $91.7 million (8.3%)
- Iron, steel: $66.7 million (6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $57.4 million (5.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: $42.6 million (3.9%)
- Wood: $38.5 million (3.5%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $35.9 million (3.2%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $35 million (3.2%)
- Aluminum: $34.6 million (3.1%)
Palestine’s top 10 exports approached two-thirds (64.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments in 2019.
Fruits and nuts was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 24% from 2018 to 2019.
In second place for improving export sales were items made from iron or steel which rose 15.5%.
Palestinian shipments of animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 14.9%.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Palestinian export categories was aluminum which declined by -9.1%.
The following types of Palestinian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: US$152 million (Down by -4% since 2018)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $64 million (Up by 19.8%)
- Copper: $6.7 million (Down by -53.5%)
- Lead: $2.9 million (Up by 17.6%)
- Footwear: $269,000 (Down by -96.5%)
- Umbrellas, walking-sticks: $7,000 (Reversing an -$84,000 deficit)
Palestine has highly positive net exports in the international trade of natural monumental or building stone. In turn, these cashflows indicate Palestine’s strong competitive advantages under the stone, plaster, cement and asbestos product category.
Palestine incurred an overall -$5.5 billion product trade deficit for 2019, up by 2.3% from -$5.4 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Palestine that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Palestine’s goods trail Palestinian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.2 billion (Down by -1.2% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$326.6 million (Up by 5.5%)
- Vehicles: -$303.3 million (Down by -18.8%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$300.7 million (Up by 15.3%)
- Machinery including computers: -$284.1 million (Down by -9.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$269.4 million (Up by 73.3%)
- Iron, steel: -$192.2 million (Down by -13.9%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$186.6 million (Down by -6.8%)
- Live animals: -$167.6 million (Up by 6.5%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$163.3 million (Up by 5.7%)
Palestine has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category, particularly for electrical energy, refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases.
Palestinian Export Companies
Not one Palestinian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Palestine. Selected examples are shown below.
- Cremisan Cellars (winery)
- Jawwal (cellular network products)
- Lone Tree Brewery (beer, other beverages)
- Paltel (telecommunications)
- Sinokrot (food products, bottling)
- Taybeh Brewery (beer, other beverages)
See also Top Middle Eastern Export Countries, Israel’s Top 10 Exports and Jordan’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Middle East: Gaza Strip. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Middle East: West Bank. Accessed on September 22, 2021
FlagPictures.org, Palestine’s flag. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Forbes, 2019 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on September 22, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, Category: Companies based in the State of Palestine. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, State of Palestine. Accessed on September 22, 2021