About the Saudi Arabian Riyal

Country:	Saudi Arabia
Currency: 	Riyal
Alias:	Saudi Arabian riyal
ISO 4217 CODES:	SAR/682
Symbol:	SR

The riyal is the national currency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a Middle Eastern nation with a population of approximately 27 million. The currency is administered by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, which functions as the country’s central bank. The rial has been pegged to the U.S. dollar since 1986. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer, and its Ghawar oil field is the largest known oil field on earth. The country also plays a significant role in the Islamic faith, as it contains the cities of Mecca and Medina, considered by followers to be the two holiest places on earth.

Background of the Saudi Arabian Riyal

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was officially formed on September 22, 1932 from the unification of several independent provinces located on the Arabian peninsula. Oil was initially discovered in 1937 by an American exploration company, and the first wells were put into operation in the following year. Since that time, oil has become the dominant driver of the Saudi Arabia’s economy, and the country is believed to have almost a quarter of the world’s total petroleum reserves. 95% percent of all Saudi oil is produced by a single state-owned company, providing a tremendous source of wealth for the country’s citizens.

The Saudi oil industry has served as the basis for a strategic relationship with the United States that involves political, economic and military ties. Beginning in 1986, the riyal was pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 1USD = SR3.75. This strategy has proven to be very beneficial for Saudi Arabia and several other oil-producing nations in the region, as oil is almost universally priced in U.S. dollars, and the peg helps to ensure that these nations realize maximum monetary value from their exports.

The riyal is divided into 100 halalat. Denominations for coins are 5 halalat, 10 halalat, 25 halalat, 50 halalat, and 100 halalat. Denominations for banknotes are SR 1, SR 5, SR 10, SR 20, SR 50, SR 100, SR 200 and SR 500.

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