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Foreign Trade in Figures

Saudi Arabia was the 21st-largest exporter of goods and the 32nd-largest import market in the world in 2022, with foreign trade representing 64% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Petroleum products represent a large majority of exports, covering around 79.5% of all exports in 2022. The main non-oil export items included "chemical and allied industry products", comprising 35.8% of non-oil merchandise exports, and "plastics and associated articles; rubber and related articles" which constituted 28.3% of non-oil merchandise exports. The most important imported merchandise goods were "machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment; parts thereof" (19.4% of total merchandise imports), and "transport equipment and parts thereof" (14.5% - data General Authority for Statistics).

During 2022, exports to China totaled SAR 249.9 billion, constituting 16.2% of the total exports, thereby establishing China as the primary destination for Saudi Arabia's exports. Following closely were India and Japan, with SAR 157.2 billion (10.2% of total exports) and SAR 152.9 billion (9.9%), respectively. South Korea, the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Taiwan, Singapore, and Bahrain rounded out the top 10 destinations for Saudi exports. China was also the main import partner (21%), followed by the
 U.S. (9.1%) and United Arab Emirates (6.3%). India, Germany, Japan, Egypt, South Korea, Italy and Switzerland were the other countries that ranked in the top 10 countries for imports (data General Authority for Statistics). In order to promote international trade, attract foreign investment and diversify the non-oil sectors, the government announced plans to establish four “economic cities” in different regions of the country, providing a variety of advantages to companies that choose to locate their operations within their limits.

The country's trade balance, although structurally in surplus, fluctuates depending on the price of oil and global demand. In 2022, exports totalled USD 411.1 billion (with oil exports increasing by 61.8% y-o-y) against USD 189.8 billion in imports. In the same year, the Kingdom exported USD 31.8 billion worth of services, importing USD 82.8 billion (WTO). The overall trade balance was estimated to be positive by 16.9% of GDP by the World Bank. According to data from the General Authority for Statistics, overall merchandise exports stood at SAR 904.9 billion, whereas imports reached SAR 565.3 billion (-24.2% and +9.5% year-on-year, respectively).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 153,163137,997152,849189,877211,028
Exports of Goods (million USD) 261,603173,854276,179411,184322,256
Imports of Services (million USD) 78,66056,26473,78182,29196,242
Exports of Services (million USD) 24,2438,98410,30334,66851,932

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 62.060.249.757.563.1
Trade Balance (million USD) 168,749121,33647,944136,464234,688
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 105,32766,91966473,486183,780
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.69.6-19.78.312.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 7.2-5.0-10.61.018.7
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 24.826.124.824.523.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 37.234.124.933.039.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -1.01.010.26.44.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 16.09.010.54.32.9

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Saudi Arabia is a member of the following international economic organisations: Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), ICC, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) G-20, G-77, IMF, Arab League, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Saudi Arabia click here. International organisation membership of Saudi Arabia is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Saudi Arabia can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
United Arab Emirates 5.1%
China 3.8%
India 3.2%
Egypt 2.7%
United States 1.7%
See More Countries 83.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 19.8%
United States 10.6%
United Arab Emirates 8.2%
India 5.3%
Germany 4.9%
See More Countries 51.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

286.5 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 52.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 18.2%
Polymers of ethylene, in primary formsPolymers of ethylene, in primary forms 4.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.8%
Polymers of propylene or of other olefins, in...Polymers of propylene or of other olefins, in primary forms 2.5%
See More Products 19.6%
152.7 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 7.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.6%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 4.5%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.7%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 2.4%
See More Products 77.9%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Actualitzacions: July 2024

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