Expats remitted SR157bn in 2015

Updated 01 February 2016
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Expats remitted SR157bn in 2015

JEDDAH: Remittances by expatriates in the Kingdom reached an all-time high of SR156.9 billion in 2015, up 2.3 percent from a total of SR153.3 billion in remittances during 2014.
In all, SR1.5 trillion in remittances sent by expatriates in the Kingdom have been recorded over a 22-year period.
The increase in expatriate remittances coincides with the issuance of 1.8 million new work permits to expats from several foreign countries during the past Islamic calendar year, about 4.8 percent of which received government recommendations through contracts or endorsements.
This comes at a time when the state has been exerting extensive efforts to improve nationalization levels to reduce the 11.5 percent unemployment level among Saudis.
According to economic reports, the average monthly transfer by an expatriate in the Kingdom was SR1,440 in 2015, while the total number of expatriates working in the private sector in 2015 reached about 9 million employees, in addition to 72,000 in the public sector.
Data from the Saudi Statistics Authority indicates the total number of expatriates in the Kingdom reached 10.7 million by the end of 2014, bringing the average monthly remittance of expatriates (employees or non-employees) to SR1,300 per month.
During the Shoura Council meeting last week, the minister of labor confirmed the 11.5 percent unemployment level in 2015 makes it the lowest in the last five years.
As for the number of expatriates working in the private sector, he said the number of employees increased by 6.3 percent from 8.47 million workers in 2014 to about 9 million employees.
The results of the manpower survey or the first half of 2015, conducted by the Saudi Statistics Authority , showed the Saudi labor force stood at 11.9 million.


OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

Updated 11 min ago
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OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

  • Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day
  • The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday

VIENNA: The oil ministers of the OPEC cartel were gathering Tuesday to discuss this week whether to increase production of crude and help limit a rise in global energy prices.
The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday, when they will also confer with Russia, a non-OPEC country that since late 2016 has cooperated with the cartel to limit production.
Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day, ending the output cut agreed on in 2016.
The cut has since then pushed up the price of crude oil by about 50 percent. The US benchmark in May hit its highest level in three and half years, at $72.35 a barrel.
Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: “It’s going to be hopefully a good meeting. We look forward to having this gathering with OPEC and non-OPEC.”
The 14 countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries make more money with higher prices, but are mindful of the fact that more expensive crude can encourage a shift to renewable resources and hurt demand.
“Consumers as well as businesses will be hoping that this week’s OPEC meeting succeeds in keeping a lid on prices, and in so doing calling a halt to a period which has seen a steady rise in fuel costs,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK
The rise in the cost of oil has been a key factor in driving up consumer price inflation in major economies like the US and Europe in recent months.
Already US President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to cut production, tweeting in April and again this month that “OPEC is at it again” by allowing oil prices to rise.
Within OPEC, an increase in output will not affect all countries equally. While Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s biggest producer, is seen to be open to a rise in production, other countries cannot afford to do so. Those include Iran and Venezuela, whose industries are stymied either by international sanctions or domestic turmoil. Iran is a fierce regional rival to Saudi Arabia, meaning the OPEC deal could also influence the geopolitics in the Middle East.