What is the Saudi Riyal (SAR)? Basic information about the Saudi Riyal currency


The Saudi riyal (SAR) has been the official currency of Saudi Arabia since the country was first established. The Saudi riyal is currently pegged to the US dollar at the rate of 1 US dollar = 3.75 SR.


  • Saudi Arabia’s economy is highly dependent on oil, with 42 percent of GDP and 90 percent of exports coming from the oil industry. It is estimated that Saudi Arabia controls roughly 25 percent of the world’s total oil reserves.
  • The current Saudi government is attempting to reduce its dependence on oil and stimulate growth in other industries by allowing the private sector and foreign investors to participate in industries such as telecom and power generation.
  • The Saudi stock exchange, also known as Tadawul, is the largest stock market in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest-growing countries globally and one of the world’s top 20 economies.


  • The first Saudi riyal coins under Saudi Arabia were issued in 1935.
  • The first banknotes, in the form of Haj Pilgrim Receipts, were introduced in 1953 by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). Haj Pilgrim Receipts were intended to be used in pilgrim foreign exchange transactions but eventually became widely used for larger transactions.
  • In 1961, the SAMA replaced Haj Pilgrim Receipts with regular banknotes. Haj Pilgrim Receipts were officially phased out in 1964.
  • In 1963, the ghirsh was replaced by a new subdivision, the halala, with 1 halala = one-hundredth of the Saudi riyal.
  • In 2003, the Saudi riyal was officially pegged to the US dollar at the exchange rate of 1 USD = 3.75 SAR
Symbolsر.س (Arabic)
ISO 4217 codeSAR
Central bankSaudi Central Bank
Currency subunitsHalala = 1/100
DenominationsBanknotes: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 riyals
Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 halalas, 1 riyal, 2 riyals
Countries using this currencySaudi Arabia
Currencies pegged to SARNone
SAR is pegged to1 USD = 3.75 SAR