Bank Reports: Sources for Economic History

Phosphates and External Trade
Rainfall, Agricultural Produce, and the General Budget

These charts and graphs from the Arab Bank Ltd report are snapshots of important economic and infrastructural data from the mid-20th century. Particularly for scholars without Arabic language expertise, these reports have the potential to be essential sources for information that ties together––for example––environmental shifts and economic impacts with an English explication.

In some cases, such charts may be the only remaining source of this type of data.

Item and Animal Prices

Similarly, these charts from the Turkish Central Bank provide data-based clues for understanding the economic health of the Turkish Republic in this time period. How much would it cost the average person to buy standard pantry goods? Or to purchase an animal for slaughter on Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice)?

Bank reports often provide researchers with the data that they need to make these kinds of economic- and social-historical assessments.

National Bank of Iran--Organizational Chart

How did financial institutions organize themselves? Frozen in time, the National Bank of Iran's organizational chart for the year 1337 hijri/1958 CE shows us how this institution built its internal hierarchy. This kind of source is useful for tracking the development and sunsetting of roles at financial institutions, the size or scale, and for exploring how financial vocabulary changes over time.

Researchers may also find this chart useful for analyzing the National Bank of Iran's priorities, particularly in light of the self-reported narrative and data points throughout the remainder of the bank report.