Saudi Arabia flag Saudi Arabia: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Saudi Arabia

Foreign Trade in Figures

Saudi Arabia is the 29th largest exporter of goods and the 32nd largest import market in the world, with foreign trade representing 50.6% of its GDP (World Bank, 2020 – down from 63.7% one year earlier). Petroleum products represent a large majority of exports, followed by petrochemical products (propylene, ethylene, etc.), covering around 78.6% of all exports in 2020. Machinery and electrical equipment account for the largest share of imports, followed by automobile, chemical and metal products.

Saudi Arabia's main export partners are China, the UAE, India, Singapore and Turkey. The country’s imports come chiefly from China, the United States, UAE, Germany and Japan (data World Bank). 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 2020, exports fell drastically as a consequence of the COVID-19 global pandemic and of the drop in oil prices, totalling USD 173.8 billion (-33.5% y-o-y), against USD 138 billion of imports (-9.8%). In the same year, the Kingdom exported USD 9.6 billion worth of services, importing USD 38.2 billion (data WTO). The surplus narrowed at a faster rate in 2020, representing only 2.1% of GDP (from 8.4% one year earlier – World Bank). According to data from the General Authority for Statistics, overall merchandise exports increased by 71.8% in Q3/2021 compared to the same period one year earlier, with the share of oil exports in total exports reaching 74.9%. Non-oil exports increased by 28.4% year-on-year in Q3/2021 (latest data available).

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 134,519137,065153,163137,998152,850
Exports of Goods (million USD) 221,835294,373261,603173,854276,179
Imports of Services (million USD) 54,30555,08355,21938,20173,281
Exports of Services (million USD) 17,44719,85223,5299,63710,303

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

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)
Trade Balance (million USD) 98,461168,749121,33647,944136,464
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 38,018105,32766,91966473,486
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -3.17.2-5.0-10.22.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 29.325.727.225.924.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 34.938.635.626.234.8

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 14.610.
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

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.

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


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Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: January 2023

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