Flag of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Economy Profile

Home > Factbook > Countries > Saudi Arabia

Economy - overview

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)
$1.775 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.79 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.761 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$686.7 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
-0.9% (2017 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$54,500 (2017 est.)
$56,400 (2016 est.)
$56,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
30.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
27.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
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.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 2.6% (2017 est.)
industry: 44.2% (2017 est.)
services: 53.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
NA
Labor force
13.8 million (2017 est.)

note: comprised of 3.1 million Saudis and 10.7 million non-Saudis

Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate
6% (2017 est.)
5.6% (2016 est.)

note: data are for total population; unemployment among Saudi nationals is more than double

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 28.8%
male: 19.9%
female: 62.6% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Distribution of family income - Gini index
45.9 (2013 est.)
Budget
revenues: 181 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 241.8 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
26.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-8.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
17.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
-0.9% (2017 est.)
2% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
2.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate
8.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
7.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$312.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$305.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$312.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$305.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$267.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$219.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$421.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$483.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$467.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Agriculture - products
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Industries
crude 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 rate
-2.4% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
$15.23 billion (2017 est.)
-$23.87 billion (2016 est.)
Exports
$221.1 billion (2017 est.)
$183.6 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
petroleum and petroleum products 90% (2012 est.)
Exports - partners
Japan 12.2%, China 11.7%, South Korea 9%, India 8.9%, US 8.3%, UAE 6.7%, Singapore 4.2% (2017)
Imports
$119.3 billion (2017 est.)
$127.8 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports - partners
China 15.4%, US 13.6%, UAE 6.5%, Germany 5.8%, Japan 4.1%, India 4.1%, South Korea 4% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$496.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$535.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$205.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$189.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$264.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$258.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$56.09 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$46.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2017 est.)
3.75 (2016 est.)
3.75 (2015 est.)
3.75 (2014 est.)
3.75 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

Economy Comparison