Yemen vs. Saudi Arabia


YemenSaudi Arabia
Economy - overview

Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilizing and growing its economy, and the current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food and fuel imports, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure. The conflict has also created a severe humanitarian crisis - the world’s largest cholera outbreak currently at nearly 1 million cases, more than 7 million people at risk of famine, and more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

Prior to the start of the conflict in 2014, Yemen was highly dependent on declining oil and gas resources for revenue. Oil and gas earnings accounted for roughly 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenue. The Yemeni Government regularly faced annual budget shortfalls and tried to diversify the Yemeni economy through a reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In July 2014, the government continued reform efforts by eliminating some fuel subsidies and in August 2014, the IMF approved a three-year, $570 million Extended Credit Facility for Yemen.

However, the conflict that began in 2014 stalled these reform efforts and ongoing fighting continues to accelerate the country’s economic decline. In September 2016, President HADI announced the move of the main branch of Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden where his government could exert greater control over the central bank’s dwindling resources. Regardless of which group controls the main branch, the central bank system is struggling to function. Yemen’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves, which stood at roughly $5.2 billion prior to the conflict, have declined to negligible amounts. The Central Bank can no longer fully support imports of critical goods or the country’s exchange rate. The country also is facing a growing liquidity crisis and rising inflation. The private sector is hemorrhaging, with almost all businesses making substantial layoffs. Access to food and other critical commodities such as medical equipment is limited across the country due to security issues on the ground. The Social Welfare Fund, a cash transfer program for Yemen’s neediest, is no longer operational and has not made any disbursements since late 2014.

Yemen will require significant international assistance during and after the protracted conflict to stabilize its economy. Long-term challenges include a high population growth rate, high unemployment, declining water resources, and severe food scarcity.

Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 16% of the world's proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 87% of budget revenues, 42% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.

Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Approximately 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors; at the same time, however, Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population.

In 2017, the Kingdom incurred a budget deficit estimated at 8.3% of GDP, which was financed by bond sales and drawing down reserves. Although the Kingdom can finance high deficits for several years by drawing down its considerable foreign assets or by borrowing, it has cut capital spending and reduced subsidies on electricity, water, and petroleum products and recently introduced a value-added tax of 5%. In January 2016, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN announced that Saudi Arabia intends to list shares of its state-owned petroleum company, ARAMCO - another move to increase revenue and outside investment. The government has also looked at privatization and diversification of the economy more closely in the wake of a diminished oil market. Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the health care, education and tourism industries. While Saudi Arabia has emphasized their goals of diversification for some time, current low oil prices may force the government to make more drastic changes ahead of their long-run timeline.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$73.63 billion (2017 est.)

$78.28 billion (2016 est.)

$90.63 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$1,609,323,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,604,007,000,000 (2018 est.)

$1,565,891,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate-5.9% (2017 est.)

-13.6% (2016 est.)

-16.7% (2015 est.)
-0.9% (2017 est.)

1.7% (2016 est.)

4.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,500 (2017 est.)

$2,700 (2016 est.)

$3,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
$46,962 (2019 est.)

$47,597 (2018 est.)

$47,309 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 20.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)

services: 67.9% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 2.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 44.2% (2017 est.)

services: 53.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line48.6% (2014 est.)NA
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)
lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)24.7% (2017 est.)

-12.6% (2016 est.)
-2% (2019 est.)

-4.5% (2018 est.)

-0.8% (2017 est.)
Labor force7.425 million (2017 est.)13.8 million (2017 est.)

note: comprised of 3.1 million Saudis and 10.7 million non-Saudis
Labor force - by occupation

note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force

agriculture: 6.7%

industry: 21.4%

services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate27% (2014 est.)

35% (2003 est.)
6% (2017 est.)

5.6% (2016 est.)

note: data are for total population; unemployment among Saudi nationals is more than double
Distribution of family income - Gini index36.7 (2014 est.)

37.3 (1999 est.)
45.9 (2013 est.)
Budgetrevenues: 2.821 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.458 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 181 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 241.8 billion (2017 est.)
Industriescrude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles, leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; aluminum products; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas productioncrude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics, metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
Industrial production growth rate8.9% (2017 est.)-2.4% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsmangoes/guavas, potatoes, sorghum, onions, milk, poultry, watermelons, grapes, oranges, bananasmilk, dates, poultry, fruit, watermelons, barley, wheat, potatoes, eggs, tomatoes
Exports$384.5 million (2017 est.)

$940 million (2016 est.)
$221.1 billion (2017 est.)

$183.6 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiescrude petroleum, gold, fish, industrial chemical liquids, scrap iron (2019)crude petroleum, refined petroleum, polymers, industrial alcohols, natural gas (2019)
Exports - partnersChina 53%, Saudi Arabia 10%, United Arab Emirates 7%, Australia 5% (2019)China 20%, India 11%, Japan 11%, South Korea 9%, United States 5% (2019)
Imports$4.079 billion (2017 est.)

$3.117 billion (2016 est.)
$119.3 billion (2017 est.)

$127.8 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditieswheat, refined petroleum, iron, rice, cars (2019)cars, broadcasting equipment, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, telephones (2019)
Imports - partnersChina 25%, Turkey 10%, United Arab Emirates 9%, Saudi Arabia 8%, India 7% (2019)China 18%, United Arab Emirates 12%, United States 9%, Germany 5% (2019)
Debt - external$6.805 billion (2018 est.)

$7.181 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$205.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$189.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesYemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -

275 (2017 est.)

214.9 (2016 est.)

214.9 (2015 est.)

228 (2014 est.)

214.89 (2013 est.)
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -

3.7514 (2020 est.)

3.75 (2019 est.)

3.7518 (2018 est.)

3.75 (2014 est.)

3.75 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar yearcalendar year
Public debt74.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

68.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
17.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

13.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$245.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$592.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$496.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$535.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.236 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.868 billion (2016 est.)
$15.23 billion (2017 est.)

-$23.87 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$54.356 billion (2018 est.)$792.849 billion (2019 est.)
Taxes and other revenues9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)26.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)-8.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 24.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 34.6% (2014 est.)
total: 28.8%

male: 19.9%

female: 62.6% (2018 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 116.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 17.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 2.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 7.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -43.9% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 41.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 24.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 4.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 34.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -28.6% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving-1.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

-3.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

-4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
33.6% of GDP (2019 est.)

33.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

30.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook