Currencies by Country:

What is the Saudi riyal (SAR)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Saudi Arabia a Aa3 rating, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a AA- rating. Finally, S&P last issued a AA- rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

Central Bank Rate

The current central bank interest rate is 2.00%. This is the same as 2011, which was 2.00%.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $434,666,133,333 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $15,835. It grew by 3.76% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2010 is 9.99%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 129.47.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is King Abdullah, who is also the head of state (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Saudi riyal is the official currency of Saudi Arabia and is denoted by the ISO code SAR. The riyal further divides into 100 hallalahs, and although a one-hallalah coin is issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, it is very rarely seen. Since 1986, the riyal has been fixed against the United States Dollar. In turn, the Bahraini dinar is pegged to the riyal with one dinar being worth 10 riyals.

Travel Notes

The import and export of local currency is limited to 100,000    riyals. The import and export of foreign currency is free except for the    New Israeli shekel, which is forbidden.

Moody’s Rating
Aa3, 15 Feb 2010
S&P Rating
AA+

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

The Saudi Arabian government is a monarchy with an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. The Basic Law, which was passed in 1992, affirmed that Saudi Arabia would be a monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. It also declared that the Holy Qur’an, which is based off of Islam law, would be the constitution of the country. The monarch, who rules the executive branch is hereditary, as there are no elections within the country. The monarch then appoints his Council of Ministers who includes many royal family members. Legislative power is vested within a consultative council, which contains 90 members and a chairman who is appointed for four-year terms by the monarch. The judicial branch contains the Supreme Council of Justice.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State King and Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 1 August 2005); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SULTAN bin Abd al- Aziz Al Saud (half brother of the monarch); note – the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government Head of Government King and Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 1 August 2005); Deputy Prime Minister SULTAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud; Second Deputy Prime Minister NAYIF bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud Cabinet Council of Ministers is appointed by the monarch every four years and includes many royal family members Elections none; the monarchy is hereditary; note – an Allegiance Commission created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes that will play a role in selecting future Saudi kings, but the system will not take effect until after Crown Prince Sultan becomes king

Key Economic Factors

Overview:

Saudi Arabia’s economy is largely characterized by oil, and contains strong government controls over all its major economic activities. Within Saudi Arabia are about 25% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves, making the nation the largest exporter of petroleum and thus a leader in OPEC. The petroleum sector makes up about 75% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. Also, about 40% of GDP comes from the private sector. The government has been promoting private sector growth in order to reduce dependence on oil and boost employment opportunities for the growing population. In the short term, many of the government’s priorities when it budgets its spending include funds for education and for the water and sewage systems. Overall, economic reforms must progress very carefully due to deep-seated political and social conservatism.

Industries:

Crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, construction, fertilizer, plastics, commercial ship repair and commercial aircraft repair.

Agriculture Products:

Wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus, mutton, chickens, eggs and milk.

Major Trading Partners:

US, Japan, South Korea, China, UK and Singapore.

Import Commodities:

Machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles and textiles.

Export Commodities:

Petroleum and petroleum products.

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