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Saudi Arabia

Profile

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Saudi Arabia
Leader
King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia country datafile
Country overview
Government contacts

Country data

Iran 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012f 2013f 2014f
Nominal GDP ($bn) 519.8 429.1 526.8 669.5 734.0 745.3 772.6
GDP per capita ($) 20,157 16,095 19,113* 23,594 25,139 24.847 25.229
Real GDP growth (annual change, %) 8.4 1.8 7.4 8.6 5.8 3.8 4.1
Government revenue (% of GDP) 60.5 36.0 41.6 47.5 50.3 44.4 42.6
Government total expenditure (% of GDP) 29.0 40.0 39.5 35.5 35.7 36.1 35.5
Total government debt (gross, % of GDP) 12.1 14.0 8.4 5.4 3.6 2.7 2.6
Current account balance (% of GDP) 25.5 4.9 12.7 23.7 24.4 17.4 15.8
Value of oil imports 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Value of oil exports 281 163.1 215.2 317.6 350.3 327.1 309.1
Inflation (%) 6.1 4.1 3.8 3.7 2.9 3.5 3.0
Click to see full economic data (2005 - 2018 forecast)
Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database; Last updated: July 2014; *=Estimate

Doing business in...

Regulation: Foreign firms that establish branches in Saudi Arabia must deposit capital in a local bank

Doing business in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Hazem Midani from Jumana House explains the legal issues foreigners face when setting up a company in the kingdom

Saudi Industrial Property Authority industrial cities Subscription

Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) was established in 2001 to develop industrial cities across Saudi Arabia

Saudi

Saudi Arabia: A kingdom open for business

Welcome to MEED’s guide to doing business in Saudi Arabia. It is almost a decade since MEED first published a business guide to the region’s biggest economy and much has changed.

Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia Subscription

Not only is Jubail the largest industrial city in the kingdom, it is the biggest industrial centre of its type in the world

Saudi Arabia

Islamic law in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Hesham al-Homoud, partner and head of corporate & commercial for Saudi Arabia at UAE-based law firm Al-Tamimi & Company, explains the implementation of sharia in the kingdom

Education: Children in the kingdom start school when they are six years old

Schools in Saudi Arabia Subscription

According to UAE firm Alpen Capital, Saudi Arabia was home to 37,145 state schools and 3,255 private schools in 2009, but only nationals and naturalised Arabs are permitted to attend government institutions

Riyadh housing units 2011-2015

Accommodation in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Finding accommodation for expatriate workers and their families can be tricky in Saudi Arabia

Housing rental prices in Eastern Province 2010-2011

Eastern Province Subscription

Along with Dhahran, Al-Khobar and Dammam make up the vast majority of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Medina

Medina province Subscription

Located along the Red Sea coast, Medina province contains Saudi Arabia’s fourth-largest city and the second-holiest site in Islam, its capital city Medina

Saudi Arabia government ministries Subscription

Contact details for Saudi Arabia government ministries

Gulf projects index

Information providers for Saudi Arabia Subscription

Middle East media

Women

Female visitors to Saudi Arabia Subscription

Recent years have seen a gradual relaxation in the rules governing women doing business in Saudi Arabia, with women playing a far more prominent and significant role in the kingdom’s economy than ever before.

Healthcare in Saudi Arabia Subscription

In early 2011, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced plans to spend SR16bn ($4.3bn) on five medical cities to be built across the kingdom

Renewables target

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy Subscription

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) was established by royal order in April 2010

Economic city: Kaec has been designed with a focus on the port, logistics, light industry and service sectors

King Abdullah Economic City Subscription

The $27bn King Abdullah Economic City (Kaec) was launched in December 2005, the first of six economic city projects planned for the kingdom

Jizan Economic City Subscription

Jizan Economic City (JEC) is located in the southwest of the kingdom and is the most remote of all the cities planned by the government

Yanbu, Saudi Arabia Subscription

Located on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, 350 kilometres north of Jeddah, Yanbu is more remote than Jubail on the east coast, but is of almost equal strategic importance to the kingdom

Ras al-Khair Minerals City, Saudi Arabia Subscription

Ras al-Khair, also known as Mineral Industrial City, lies 60 kilometres north of Jubail and is being developed by the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (RCJ&Y)

Industrial cities in Saudi Arabia Subscription

The diversification of the Saudia Arabian economy has been a strategic objective for Riyadh since the 1970s

The end: A firm may be liquidated if it no longer has the minimum number of two partners required by law

Dissolving a company in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Reed Runnels from law firm Omar Alrasheed explains how to wrap up a business in the kingdom

Saudisation Subscription

The proportion of Saudi nationals working in the private sector dropped from 17 per cent to just 10 per cent over the decade leading up to 2010

Taxes in Saudi Arabia Subscription

Yasser al-Khalaiwi from Saudi law firm Omar Alrasheed & Partners answers key questions about taxes in the kingdom

Saudi Arabia's economy Subscription

As the world’s largest oil exporter, it is unsurprising that Saudi Arabia’s economy is dominated by hydrocarbons income

Ruler:  King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Government structure in Saudi Arabia Subscription

The modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by King Abdulaziz al-Saud in 1932

History of Saudi Arabia Subscription

The modern state of Saudi Arabia is relatively young

Map of Saudi Arabia

Basic information on Saudi Arabia Subscription

The total area of Saudi Arabia is 2,149,690 square kilometres, making it the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula

Special reports

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Saudi Arabia: Testing times for 2015

22 January 2015

The kingdom is entering a pivotal year as it attempts to tackle global oil prices, the threat of terrorism and social unrest

Riyadh

Saudi Arabia: Riyadh must maintain spending momentum

17 December 2014

The kingdom should plough ahead with plans to invest in social infrastructure despite falling oil prices

Opec secretary-general Abdullah al-Badri

Opec sets the tone for 2015

15 December 2014 | By

Regional producers are not about to cut oil production and the assumptions that have underpinned forecasting in recent years have to be revisited

Riyadh

Saudi project activity stays strong amid oil price volatility

26 November 2014 | By James Gavin

The lower oil price may lead to uncertainty among stakeholders, but Riyadh’s willingness to maintain spending will continue to provide momentum for schemes

Riyadh in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Foreign investment to boost Tadawul Subscription

2 October 2014

The Saudi Stock Exchange is about to embark on a period of significant growth as it opens its doors to foreign investors next year

Region: Political stability a must to be able to go nuclear

Nuclear: Backing key to plans Subscription

7 August 2014

The highly regulated nature and requirements of the nuclear power industry means foreign support is key to the region’s ambitions

More Saudi Arabia special reports

MEED comment

King Salman: Focus on maintaining stability

Next generation joins the Saudi succession

27 January 2015 | By

The Saudi king has brought the younger generation into the line of succession to ensure stability, but political and economic issues remain

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Managers not monarchs matter most in Saudi Arabia

23 January 2015 | By

Radical economic progress and measured social reform were hallmarks of King Abdullah’s reign

King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Salman's first challenge is to secure the succession

23 January 2015 | By

The new ruler must continue the approach of the late king and to present a clear and confident succession plan

Saudi Arabia plays the long game

Saudi Arabia plays the long game

20 January 2015 | By

While there are worrying developments, reports on the demise of the kingdom’s oil sector are wildly exaggerated

Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia

Masters of the new world energy order

18 January 2015 | By

The GCC, the worlds’ biggest energy exporter, and the US, the world’s largest energy consumer are emerging as leaders in a new world energy order

Ras Tanura refinery in Saudi Arabia

Aramco still committed to long-term vision

6 January 2015 | By

Ras Tanura postponement should not be misconstrued as anything other than capital investment planning

With Opec production likely to stay constant for at least six months, US hydrocarbons production is now the major source of uncertainty for the oil market

Arab countries will not blink first on oil

22 December 2014 | By

Regional energy ministers take tough stance on output

Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia

Why GCC producers are happy to see oil fall

18 December 2014 | By

The GCC’s oil producers will be the biggest winners from the 2014 oil price crash

More MEED commentary

Saudi Arabia trends

Stability: King Salman's (extreme right) first priority was to establish a clear line of succession to the throne

Saudi Arabia's next generation emerges Subscription

27 January 2015

The many challenges facing Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

The price of labour and materials has been rising since 2010, but the decline in oil will provide respite from inflation

A window of opportunity Subscription

27 January 2015 | By

The price of labour and materials has been rising since 2010, but the decline in oil will provide respite from inflation and encourage clients that want to move ahead with projects despite oil price concerns

The House of Saud

The house of Saud Subscription

27 January 2015

Take a look at the house of Saud’s family tree through MEED’s image gallery

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Obituary: King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

23 January 2015 | By

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah deprives the Middle East of one of its most forceful political leaders of recent times

Total and container throughput at Saudi ports

Capacity boost for Saudi ports sector Subscription

19 January 2015 | By Bernadette Ballantyne

Investment by private operators is modernising port infrastructure and offering a better service to shipping lines, helping Saudi Arabia compete in a tough market

Saudi arabia revenue and spending, and budget balance

Riyadh sends strong message with high budget Subscription

19 January 2015 | By

By increasing its budget for 2015, the government is sending a message to investors that it is prepared to continue spending. However, it is likely non-essential projects will be delayed

Railway construction

Rail projects safe from oil price drop Subscription

19 January 2015 | By

No sign of delays for existing rail and metro projects across the GCC although new project plans unlikely to materialise this year

With the volatility in global oil markets, it is likely 2015 will see only the most pressing schemes go ahead in Saudi Arabia

Aramco restrains spending Subscription

18 January 2015 | By

Plunging oil prices mean the oil major will hold back spending on long-term, export-oriented schemes and instead focus on projects that boost domestic gas supply and deliver job creation

There is a distinct sense of anxiety that jihadist overspill is once again threatening the kingdom

The risk from terrorism Subscription

18 January 2015 | By James Gavin

Riyadh has stepped up efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in the kingdom, but returning jihadists from Iraq and Syria are a bigger danger

Middle East contract awards December 2014

Middle East contracts awarded: December 2014 Subscription

7 January 2015

Over $6bn of contracts awarded in December in the Middle East

Filter Saudi Arabia analysis by sector

Market presentations

Dubai creek

Managing the Boom: The Outlook for the Middle East Subscription

23 July 2014

Opportunities and challenges for businesses in the region created by the new projects boom

Qatar metro

Webinar: GCC metro and rail projects Subscription

12 September 2013

MEED’s analysis and forecast presentation on the metro projects in the region

Middle East Outlook 2013

A region in transition: Middle East outlook 2013 and beyond Subscription

18 August 2013

Insight and analysis on the economic and projects outlook for the Middle East

Project Finance

Webinar: Middle East project finance outlook Subscription

17 June 2013

Market constraints to continue, with deals flowing to most stable markets in the region

Mena renewables 2013

Webinar: MENA Renewable Energy Subscription

12 May 2013

In this presentation, MEED discusses the trends and prospects for renewable power in the region

After the Uprisings webinar

After the Uprisings: The outlook for business in the Middle East in 2013 and beyond Subscription

4 March 2013

A webinar on the region’s business environment, providing current data and exclusive expert analysis drawn from MEED’s team of experts

Top 100 projects 2012

Top 100 projects: The Middle East market gains momentum Subscription

3 February 2013

This webinar examines projects market trends in the region and forecasts which countries and sectors will grow in 2013

Wastewater

Webinar: Project opportunities in GCC wastewater Subscription

15 May 2012

Join MEED for an exclusive online seminar looking at the Gulf wastewater sector

Top 10 projects

Rank

Rank Project Name Sector Contract value ($m)
1 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Lines 1 & 2 Transport 9,450
2 Haramain High-Speed Rail Network: Phase 2 Transport 8,396
3 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Lines 4, 5 & 6 Transport 7,820
4 Riyadh Light Rail Transit (Riyadh Metro): Line 3 Transport 5,942
5 King Abdulaziz International Airport: Phase 1: New Terminal: Package 1 Transport 4,034
6 Housing Development: Phase 2 Construction 3,600
7 Abraj Kudai in Mecca Construction 3,500
8 Rabigh Power Plant Extension: Phase 6 Power 3,400
9 King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Project: Riyadh Security Forces Medical Complex Construction 3,350
9 King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Project: Jeddah Security Forces Medical Complex Construction 3,350
Click through to the full data table on Saudi Arabia's biggest projects in construction
Click through to MEED's Q3 2014 Top 100 Projects report
Source: MEED Projects; Data compiled: November 2014; All projects are in construction

Project awards

Power

GE wins equipment contract for Yanbu 3 Subscription

29 January 2015 | By

US firm will provide drives for power component of power and water facility

Indra wins Riyadh metro ticketing deal

Indra wins Riyadh metro ticketing deal Subscription

15 January 2015 | By

Spanish firm appointed to work on ticketing and access control systems for railway

Airport

Al-Jaber wins Abha airport deal Subscription

5 January 2015 | By

UAE-based Al-Jaber group has been awarded another contract as the firm continues to recover

Al-Khodari & Sons wins multiple university contracts Subscription

29 December 2014 | By

Saudi-based firm awarded work by the Ministry of Higher Education.

Mecca

Misa takes on Abraj Kudai project work Subscription

14 December 2014 | By

Saudi Binladin subcontracts construction work on Mecca project

Black & Veatch wins Jeddah desalination consultancy deal

Black & Veatch wins Jeddah desalination consultancy deal Subscription

10 December 2014 | By

Fourth-phase expansion will bring plant’s capacity to 400,000 cubic metres a day

Wastewater

Arcadis win Mecca water management contract Subscription

9 December 2014 | By

Consultants will develop 2050 masterplan

Pylon

Alstom wins transmission contract in Saudi Arabia Subscription

18 November 2014 | By

French company will supply AC transmission systems for western province installations

KBR to design Petrokemya butadiene plant expansion

KBR to design Petrokemya butadiene plant expansion Subscription

11 November 2014 | By

Project will debottleneck and expand capacity of petrochemicals facility at Jubail

Saudi Aramco's Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia

Aramco confirms Saipem for $2bn Khurais deal Subscription

29 October 2014 | By

Italian contractor will construct main processing facilities at oilfield expansion

Projects trends

Gulf projects index

Iran drags down Gulf index Subscription

27 January 2015

Losses in UAE, Iraq and Iran wipe 0.5 per cent off regional projects index

Gulf projects index

Qatar the worst performer on Gulf index Subscription

20 January 2015

Qatar’s project market declines by 2.1 per cent after the scrapping of Al-Karaana project

Gulf projects index

Gulf index records modest growth Subscription

13 January 2015

Saudi Arabia’s projects market sees sole decline in region

More Gulf Projects Index articles

People

Rayed Abdullah al-Ajaji Subscription

7 January 2015

Rayed Abdullah al-Ajaji is president at Universal Metal Coating Company (Unicoil) Saudi Arabia

Ismail Shar Al-Sulby Subscription

7 January 2015

Ismail Shar al-Sulby is general manager, Long Products Business Unit at Sabic Metals

Sami al-Louzi Subscription

20 July 2014

Sami al-Louzi is partner in Riyadh and Dubai at Latham & Watkins

Harj Rai Subscription

20 July 2014

Harj Rai is partner in Riyadh and Dubai at Latham & Watkins

Craig Nethercott Subscription

20 July 2014

Craig Nethercott is partner in Riyadh and Dubai at Latham & Watkins

Salman al-Sudairi Subscription

20 July 2014

Salman al-Sudairi is partner, Riyadh at Latham & Watkins

See all Saudi Arabia biographies

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