Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports

Saudi Arabia’s flag


Exports from Saudi Arabia amounted to US$213.4 billion in 2015, down by -40.4% since 2011 and down by -38.6% from 2014 to 2015. Saudi Arabia’s top 10 exports accounted for 94.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Saudi Arabia’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $1.720 trillion as of April 2016.

Therefore, exports accounted for about 12.4% of total Saudi economic output.

Given Saudi Arabia’s population of 27.8 million people, its total $213.4 billion in 2015 exports translates to roughly $7,680 for every resident in that country.

Saudi Arabia’s unemployment rate was 5.6% as of December 2015 according to Trading Economics.

Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Saudi global shipments during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Saudi Arabia.

  1. Oil: US$164.1 billion (76.9% of total exports)
  2. Plastics: $15.2 billion (7.1%)
  3. Organic chemicals: $10.2 billion (4.8%)
  4. Ships, boats: $2.5 billion (1.2%)
  5. Aluminum: $2 billion (1%)
  6. Machines, engines, pumps: $1.8 billion (0.8%)
  7. Inorganic chemicals: $1.5 billion (0.7%)
  8. Vehicles: $1.3 billion (0.6%)
  9. Dairy, eggs, honey: $1.2 billion (0.6%)
  10. Electronic equipment: $1.1 billion (0.5%)

Aluminum was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 292.5% in value for the 5-year period starting in 2011.

In second place for improving export sales were inorganic chemicals which was up 136.6%.

Saudi ships and boats posted the third-fastest gain in value at 105.6%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Saudi exports was oil which was down by -47.2% from 2011 to 2015. The second-fastest depreciating product category was organic chemicals with a -15.7% drop.


The following types of Saudi product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Oil: US$162.8 billion (Down by -47.5% since 2011)
  2. Plastics: $11.7 billion (Up by 0.4%)
  3. Organic chemicals: $8.4 billion (Down by -16%)
  4. Ships, boats: $2 billion (Up by 468.7%)
  5. Fertilizers: $943 million (Down by -37.9%)
  6. Inorganic chemicals: $468.7 million (Down by -574%)
  7. Raw hides excluding furskins: $75.2 million (Down by -38.7%)

Saudi Arabia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of petroleum. In turn, these cashflows indicate Saudi Arabia’s strong competitive advantages under the oil product category.


Below are exports from Saudi Arabia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Saudi Arabia’s goods trail Saudi importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machines, engines, pumps: -US$25 billion (Up by 32.7% since 2011)
  2. Vehicles: -$23.7 billion (Up by 51.6%)
  3. Electronic equipment: -$18.4 billion (Up by 36.8%)
  4. Gems, precious metals, coins: -$5.2 billion (Up by 261.3%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: -$5.1 billion (Up by 47.6%)
  6. Iron or steel products: -$5 billion (Up by 16.2%)
  7. Iron and steel: -$4.3 billion (Down by -18.4%)
  8. Cereals: -$3.9 billion (Down by -10.7%)
  9. Medical, technical equipment: -$3.5 billion (Up by 45.4%)
  10. Meat: -$2.7 billion (Up by 10.4%)

Saudi Arabia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery.


Saudi Export Companies

Twenty Saudi corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Saudi Arabia:

  • Saudi Basic Industries (diversified chemicals)
  • Saudi Arabian Fertilizers (specialized chemicals)
  • Savola Group (food processing)
  • Saudi Arabian Mining (diversified metals, mining)
  • Petro Rabigh (diversified chemicals)

Wikipedia also lists exporters from Saudi Arabia. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Saudi Aramco (oil, gas)
  • Saudi Basic Industries (diversified chemicals)
  • Saudi Arabian Fertilizers (specialized chemicals)
  • Savola Group (food processing)
  • Saudi Arabian Mining (diversified metals)
  • Petro Rabigh (diversified chemicals)
  • Almarai (food processing)
  • Tasnee (petrochemicals)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following firms represent smaller exporters from Saudi Arabia:

  • Al Abeiry PVC Hose Factory (tubes/pipes/hoses, building/monument granite, furniture)
  • Batook Chewing Gum Industries (turpentine oils, menthol, wines)
  • Saudi Aramco Oil (petroleum)
  • Saudi Basic Industries (acyclic hydrocarbons, polyethylene)
  • Yamama Granite Marble (building/monument granite, wooden boxes/cases/crates)

Saudi Arabia’s capital city is Riyadh.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Highest Value Saudi Arabian Import Products, Top Middle Eastern Export Countries and Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 28, 2016

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 28, 2016

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 28, 2016

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 28, 2016

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Saudi Arabia. Accessed on May 28, 2016

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 28, 2016

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on May 28, 2016