Economy of Brunei Darussalam



GNI: US$16.1 billion

GNI p.c.: US$38,010

GDP growth:  -0.6% p.a. 2011–15

Inflation: -0.2% p.a. 2010–14

Due to its extensive resources of oil and gas, and its small population, Brunei is among the world’s richer countries. The oil and gas sector dominates the economy and generates the bulk of export earnings and government revenues. Brunei is vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices: the slump in oil prices was largely responsible for negative growth in the 1980s.

The economy and social infrastructure have been developed through a series of national development programmes. During the 1990s, the emphasis was on social services and public utilities. This continued into the 2000s, together with diversification of manufacturing and encouragement of private investment, including foreign investment. Major projects include a gas pipeline, a power plant, the upgrade of the international airport, development of the port of Muara, and an industrial park with a methanol plant, which began production and exports in mid-2010.

As the regional economic crisis of 1997–98 receded, the government announced plans to encourage fuller private-sector participation in public enterprises, promote foreign investment – including, for the first time, allowing foreigners to own land in Brunei – and make Brunei into a regional trade and services centre.

The economy benefited from high global energy prices in the early 2000s, with little inflation. It slowed in 2007 (with a growth rate of 0.2 per cent) and, in the strongly adverse climate of the world economic downturn, shrank in 2008 (–1.9 per cent) and 2009 (–1.8 per cent) before returning to a good steady growth of 2–3 per cent p.a. in 2010–14, when energy prices were buoyant again.