Saudi foreign reserves cover imports for 4 years, 16 times world average

A man counts Saudi Riyal banknotes in a jewellery store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this October 18, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 November 2017

Saudi foreign reserves cover imports for 4 years, 16 times world average

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves are sufficient to cover imports for about four years (48 months), according to August data, an analysis published on Sunday by Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper revealed.

According to the analysis conducted by the economic reports unit at the newspaper, based on SAMA data, the rate of coverage of Saudi foreign reserves for imports is 16 times the global average of only three months, meaning that the rate in Saudi Arabia exceeds the world average by 1,500 percent.

Given this huge stock of foreign exchange, the Saudi economy has great strength to support its exchange rate policy and economic activities.

These reserves also help finance part of the budget deficit resulting from falling oil prices, debt repayment and provision of imports of goods in exceptional circumstances.

These reserves also help the national economy absorb economic shocks in general, whether local or global.

SAMA’s reserve assets include gold, special drawing rights, IMF reserves, foreign exchange and deposits abroad, as well as investments in securities abroad.

Saudi Arabia’s reserves abroad amounted to SAR 1.83 trillion at the end of August, while imports during the same month amounted to about SAR38.1 billion.

The rate of coverage of foreign reserves of imports in August rose from the levels of the month of July, which was about 3.6 years (43 months), exceeding the global average by 1,331 percent.

Saudi Arabia confirms no change in Israel travel rules

Updated 27 January 2020

Saudi Arabia confirms no change in Israel travel rules

  • Foreign minister says Israeli passport holders are still unable to visit the the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has confirmed that Israeli citizens are still unable to visit the Kingdom.

Foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the policy has not changed despite Israel saying on Sunday that its passport holders could now travel to the country for religious and business visits.

“Our policy is fixed,” Prince Faisal told CNN. “We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the Kingdom at the current time.”

His comments come as Donald Trump prepares to unveil his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday. An agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be key to improving relations with Arab countries, most of which have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table,” Prince Faisal added.

Israel’s interior minister said on Sunday that Israelis - if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities - would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.

Israelis, mostly Muslims going on pilgrimage, do visit the Kingdom, but usually with special permission or using foreign passports.

Saudi Arabia, along with most Arab countries have no official diplomatic relations with Israel, and citizens of those countries are not able to travel to Israel nor Israelis to those countries.

However, relations between Israel and Gulf states have improved in recent years, particularly over a shared stand against Iran and its aggressive policies in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that he welcomed Israel’s warming ties to Arab countries in the region.

In 2018, Netanyahu visited Oman and met the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

*With Reuters