Saudi expats remitted over $27bn

Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia remitted home record high funds of more than $27 billion in 2011, maintaining its position as the region’s largest source of hard currency for labour-export nations, according to official data.

The remittances of $27.8 billion brought to nearly $130 billion the total funds siphoned out by the Gulf Kingdom’s eight million foreigners since 2006, showed the figures by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), central bank.

Last year’s remittances broke the previous year’s record transfers of around $26 billion and were almost double the 2006 remittances of about $15 billion.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the world’s top oil exporter, has remained as the biggest source of hard currency in the region for labour-supplying nations in the Arab world, Asia and other regions.

The UAE, the second largest Arab economy, has remained the second biggest Gulf source of outgoing financial transfers by foreigners.

Bankers estimate the more than six million expatriates in the UAE have remitted home over $100 since 2000.

Despite the massive foreign remittances, Saudi Arabia’s current account has remained in large surplus most of the years because of high oil exports.

The surplus swelled to an all time high of around $174 billion in 2011 when oil prices hit a record average of $105 and Riyadh boosted its crude production to nearly 9.3 million barrels per day from 8.2 million bpd in 2010.

In 2008, when crude prices peaked at an average $95 a barrel, the Kingdom’s current account surplus was also as high as $132.3 billion.

It tumbled to $22.8 billion in 2009 due to lower crude prices before sharply rebounding to $66.8 billion in 2010 as a result of a $15 oil price increase.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter which controls more than a fifth of the global recoverable crude resources.

High oil prices last year fetched it a record $302 billion and the income is projected to climb to $322 billion in 2012 due to firm oil prices and higher crude output by the country.


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