Saudis remit $180 bln abroad in a decade

Expatriates’ salaries account for the majority of their remittances

Published: Updated:

The remittances of Saudi individuals to overseas countries over the past 10 years was about SR676 billion ($180 billion), according to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).

The value of remittances increased annually from 2004 until 2010, when they dropped, before continuing its upward curve for the following four years, reported Al-Riyadh.

In 2014 alone SR88 billion were remitted.

Combined with the SR960 billion expatriates remitted over the same period, Saudis and non-Saudis sent a total SR1.636 trillion abroad.

Expatriates’ salaries account for the majority of their remittances.

The rise in Saudi remittances is related to the rise in the import of commodities. These figures come at a time when World Bank estimates disclosed that “invisible” transactions in the Kingdom accounted for a large part of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to the estimates, the value of such transactions in the Kingdom rose from SR364 billion in 2008 to SR549 billion in 2014, nearly a fifth of the GDP.

Such transactions include Zakat (tax) evasion, bribes, commissions, sale of stolen goods, banned trade and smuggling of commodities and money.

They also include unregistered cash transactions.

In a report it issued recently, the World Bank classified the Kingdom as second in the world after the U.S. for expatriate remittances, with money worth a total of $34.5 billion (SR163 billion) leaving the country in 2013.