Saudi Arabia's Macroeconomic Statistics

Saudi Arabia is the largest oil-producing country in the Gulf region, and it has been ruled absolutely by a member of the Saud kingdom since 1932. It holds about a quarter of the world's known oil reserves, and therefore plays a key role in OPEC. Its membership in the World Trade Organization has led to some reform of the economy, and the Saudi government is actively seeking foreign investors to encourage diversification. The effort to modernize the Saudi economy has brought the wrath of Muslim extremists who have launched terrorist attacks on foreign workers and Saudi oil facilities. Here are some macroeconomic statistics and information for Saudi Arabia.

In 2008, Saudi Arabia's average tariff rate was 3.8%. There are a lot of things that contribute to the high cost of trade, such as bans and restrictions on imports, stiff controls on exports, barriers to market access, arbitrary implementation of standards, and substandard intellectual property rights protection.

Citizens of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Saudi nationals pay a religious tax of 2.5%, as opposed to corporate or income taxes. Foreign investors and citizens are under a flat 20% tax, with exceptions only coming from the production of oil and gas. In the most recent year for which data is available, the percentage of GDP made up of tax revenue was 5.6%.

Government expenditures, including transfer payments and consumption, are very moderate. In the most recent year for which we have data, government expenditures make up 32.6% of the GDP. The government has a strong hand in the economy; the state-run mining company went private in 2008 and the state-run airline is set to go partially private.

Inflation is relatively high, with an average of 7.8%. The government either outright controls or influences prices through subsidies, regulation, and state ownership of utilities and other enterprises.

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