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Saudi Arabia


    • Overview:
      This is a well-to-do oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. About 46% of GDP comes from the private sector. Economic (as well as political) ties with the US are especially strong. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 75% of budget revenues, 35% of GDP, and almost all export earnings. Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves of petroleum in the world (26% of the proved total), ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. For the 1990s the government intends to bring its budget, which has been in deficit since 1983, back into balance, and to encourage private economic activity. Roughly four million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, for example, in the oil and banking sectors. For about a decade, Saudi Arabia's domestic and international outlays have outstripped its income, and the government has cut its foreign assistance and is beginning to rein in domestic programs. For 1995, the country looks for improvement in oil prices and will continue its policies of restraining public spending and encouraging non-oil exports.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $173.1 billion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:
      -3% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $9,510 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      1% (1993 est.)

    • Unemployment rate:
      6.5% (1992 est.)

    • Budget:

        revenues:
        $39 billion

        expenditures:
        $50 billion, including capital expenditures of $7.5 billion (1993 est.)

    • Exports:
      $39.4 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)

        commodities:
        petroleum and petroleum products 92%

        partners:
        US 20%, Japan 18%, Singapore 5%, France 5%, South Korea 5% (1992)

    • Imports:
      $28.9 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)

        commodities:
        machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, textiles

        partners:
        US 21%, Japan 14%, UK 11%, Germany 8%, Italy 6%, France 5% (1992)

    • External debt:
      $18.9 billion (December 1989 est., includes short-term trade credits)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate 20% (1991 est.); accounts for 35% of GDP, including petroleum

    • Electricity:

        capacity:
        17,550,000 kW

        production:
        46 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        2,430 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, cement, two small steel-rolling mills, construction, fertilizer, plastics

    • Agriculture:
      accounts for about 10% of GDP, 16% of labor force; subsidized by government; products - wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus fruit, mutton, chickens, eggs, milk; approaching self-sufficiency in food

    • Illicit drugs:
      death penalty for traffickers; increasing consumption of heroin and cocaine

    • Economic aid:

        donor:
        pledged bilateral aid (1979-89), $64.7 billion; pledged $100 million in 1993 to fund reconstruction of Lebanon

    • Currency:
      1 Saudi riyal (SR) = 100 halalah

    • Exchange rates:
      Saudi riyals (SR) per US$1 - 3.7450 (fixed rate since late 1986), 3.7033 (1986)

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year






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