Saudi Arabia ranked seventh in the world in terms of the size of its foreign exchange reserves, reaching about $ 454 billion (1.7 trillion riyals) by the end of the last year 2020. This comes despite the decline in oil prices by more than 20 percent during the past year as a result of the outbreak of the "Corona" pandemic that struck the whole world. According to the analysis of the unit of reports in Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper, based on data from the countries' central banks and the International Monetary Fund, the total foreign exchange reserves of the ten largest possessing countries amounted to about $ 8.53 trillion, of which 5.3 percent is Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia came seventh behind each of China, whose reserves amounted to 3.22 trillion dollars, then Japan with 1.4 trillion dollars, third Switzerland with 993 billion dollars, fourthly Russia with foreign reserves of 596 billion dollars, then India 585 billion dollars, and Hong Kong 492 billion dollars. The countries ’reserves of foreign currencies help them support the local currency, and can also be used in case of emergency and economic crises in them. Behind Saudi Arabia, South Korea came with foreign exchange reserves of 443 billion dollars, ninth came Brazil with 356 billion dollars, and tenth with Singapore 359 billion dollars.
The decline in reserve assets came due to a decrease in foreign exchange and deposits abroad, 5.1 percent, equivalent to 29.4 billion riyals. The total reserve assets of the Saudi Central Bank "SAMA" include gold, special drawing rights, reserves with the International Monetary Fund, foreign exchange, and deposits abroad, in addition to investments in securities abroad. On an annual basis, Saudi reserve assets abroad declined by 9.2 percent, equivalent to 172.2 billion riyals, compared to 1.87 trillion riyals at the end of the same month of 2019.
And 40 billion dollars (150 billion riyals) were transferred from the reserves of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia (SAMA) to the Public Investment Fund, as an exception, during last March and April, to support its movement to exploit opportunities in global markets. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency "SAMA" confirmed, earlier, that the returns on investments in Saudi reserves abroad, which are managed by the corporation, are similar to their counterparts in international central banks.