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Saudi Arabia - Country Profile

This is an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. Saudi Arabia possesses 25% 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 75% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. About 40% of GDP comes from the private sector. Roughly five and a half million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, for example, in the oil and service sectors. The government in 1999 announced plans to begin privatizing the electricity companies, which follows the ongoing privatization of the telecommunications company. The government is encouraging private sector growth to lessen the kingdom's dependence on oil and increase employment opportunities for the swelling Saudi population. Priorities for government spending in the short term include additional funds for education and for the water and sewage systems. Economic reforms proceed cautiously because of deep-rooted political and social conservatism.


Economic Statistics
Exports : $113 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Export
Commodities :
petroleum and petroleum products 90%
Export
Partner
US 18.2%, Japan 14.9%, South Korea 9.5%, China 6.1%, Taiwan 4.5%, Singapore 4.1% (2004)
Imports $36.21 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Import
Commodities :
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports
Partners :
US 15.3%, Japan 9.8%, Germany 8.1%, China 6.6%, UK 5.7% (2004)