Jerusalem (Jun. 12)
The economic situation of Palestine has begun to improve and the downward tendency in the trade and industry of the country has finally been checked. This is the conclusion reached in the report of the Palestinian Government for the year 1922-23, which was issued today.
Twenty corporations were registered in Palestine during the year with a total capital of 1,215,000 Egyptian pounds. The most important of these corporations, the report states, are the Palestine Electric Company and the Jaffa Electric Company. Seven corporative societies have been formed during the period. Up till now the co-operative movement has been confined entirely to the Jewish population, as the Arabpopulation is not yet appreciative of this form of trade.
The economic depression in 1922, which was caused by the decrease in the influx of foreign capital and the immobilization of local capital in buildings and land, continued throughout 1923. This brought about a limitation of the credits and an increase in the rate of interest. However all this did not result in any compulsory windings-up of business enterprises. The number of voluntary bankruptcies was only six.
The orange trade, which has suffered losses during recent years, is still suffering owing to the disunion prevailing among the exporters. Thousands of pounds have been lost annually because of the lack of co-operation and the indiscriminate way of placing shipments. On the other hand, the tobacco cultivation and cigarette manufacturing enterprises are flourishing.
The economic depression resulted in fewer large real estate transactions, in a decrease of land values and in the multiplication of mortgages, thus compelling the banks and loan societies to lower their rate of interest.
The government Department of Public Works spent, during the year
1923, 293,000 Egyptian pounds as compared with 362,000 Egyptian pounds spent during the year 1922. The railways have also retrenched their expenses to the lowest point yet recorded; but the prevailing economic stagnation is still decreasing receipts.
The fact that the government has curtailed its program of road making and that house building activities have stopped has contributed to the general economic depression and has created an unemployment situation more extensive than before. This has resulted in a considerable emigration from the country, mainly to America, especially among the more recent arrivals.
The number of unemployed among non-Jews is usually insignificant during the Summer, but increases during the Winter.
Concerning the immigration to and emigration from Palestine, the report of the government furnishes the following figures. In the year 1923, 4,937 left the country. Of these, 3,466 were Jews, the majority belonging to the working class. The total immigrants in the same year was 7,991 of which 7,421 were Jews. Of the 8,128 immigrants in 1922, 7,844 were Jews.
Concerning the imports and exports of Palestine, the ## states that the total amount of imports in the fiscal year was 4,935,265 Egyptian pounds; the total amount of exports being 1,554,730 Egyptian pounds.
The imports from America amounted to 463,207 pounds; the imports from England amounted to 1,123,541 pounds. The export to America amounted to 340,000 pounds; the exports to England amounted to 291,706 pounds.
Concerning the administrative expense of Palestine, the report states that from the first of July, 1920, when the civil government was established, until March 31st, 1923, the total revenue was 5,185,356 Egyptian pounds, while the expenditures amount only to 4,946,378 pounds.
The receipts of the import taxes during the period decreased because of the fact that fewer ships entered Palestinian ports.