Brunei’s Economy 2016 – Facts and Figures

12th April 2017
photo of sultan omar ali saifuddien mosque in brunei lit up in the late evening

map of location of brunei in southeast asia     

Here you will find both summarised and detailed information regarding Brunei’s economy 2016 and its general state of being. For further research please check the sources at the bottom of the page and do contact me if you have more current and correct information to add.


  1. Introduction
    1. Background
    2. Overview
  2. Gross Domestic Product
    1. What is GDP?
    2. Brunei’s GDP Annual Growth Rate
      1. GDP from Agriculture, Forestry & Fishery
      2. GDP from Industry
      3. GDP from Services
  3. Inflation Rate
    1. What is inflation?
    2. Brunei Inflation Rate
  4. Labour
  5. Reference Sources

1. Introduction


The Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam is a small, energy-rich country situated on the northern coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It is a hot and humid tropical country which borders the South China Sea to the north, Malaysia to the east and west, and Indonesia to the south. Brunei boasts a well-educated, largely English-speaking population; excellent infrastructure; and a stable government intent on attracting foreign investment.

Crude oil and natural gas production account for approximately 65% of GDP and 95% of exports, with Japan as the primary export market. Per capita GDP is among the highest in the world, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic hydrocarbon production.

Bruneian citizens do not pay personal income taxes, and the government provides free medical services and free education through the university level.


Full name:Brunei Darussalam
Capital:Bandar Seri Begawan
Location:Southeast Asia
Geographic coordinates:4 30 N, 114 40 E
Time zone:GMT +8
Land area:5,265 sq km
Government type:Absolute Monarchy
Head of State:Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien
Population:417,200 (2015 est.)
Demographics:Malay: 66.0%
Chinese: 10.1%
Others: 23.9%
(2015 est.)
Official language:Malay
Official religion:Islam
Main exports:Crude oil
Liquified Natural Gas
Organic Chemicals
Gross Domestic Product 2016:BND18.1 billion
GDP Growth 2016:-2.5%
GDP Growth Q4 year-on-year 2016:-3.6%
Unemployment rate:6.9% (2014 survey)
Legal working age:16 years old

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2. Gross Domestic Product

i. What is GDP?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the final value of the goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of a country during a specified period of time, normally a year. GDP growth rate is an important indicator of the economic performance of a country.

ii. Brunei’s GDP Annual Growth Rate

In the last quarter of 2016 (Q4 2016) Brunei recorded a GDP growth rate of -3.6% year-on-year. Overall GDP for 2016 was recorded at -2.5%. The annual GDP of Brunei was recorded at BND18.1 billion; a decline from BND18.6 billion in 2015.

chart of brunei gdp growth from 2014 to 2016

a. GDP from Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery

GDP growth rate for agricultural endeavours recorded at an annual -3.6%. Most of the activities that made up this industry saw a decline except for Livestock and poultry which saw a growth of 2.1% from -12.0% in 2015. Biggest contributor to the negative growth rate was from Fishery activities(-12.9%).

Activities and their growth rates under this sector include:

Vegetables, fruits & other agriculture-0.4%-1.6%
Livestock and poultry-12.0%2.1%

graph of gdp growth rate of brunei's agriculture sector

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b. GDP from Industry

The Industry sector recorded the annual GDP decline of -2.9%. The decline was mainly associated with the decrease of the Manufacture of food and beverage products recorded at -9.5%, Contruction at -6.5% and  Other manufacturing at -6.4%.

On the other hand, Electricity and water saw a growth to 4.8%.

The activities and growth rate of the industry sector are:

Oil and gas mining-1.1%-3.6%
Manufacture of liquefied natural gas and methanol2.7%-0.3%
Manufacture of wearing apparel & textiles3.0%-2.3%
Manufacture of food and beverage products 2.1%-9.5%
Other manufacturing -2.8%-6.4%
Electricity and water2.8%4.8%

graph of gdp growth rate of brunei's industry sector

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c. GDP from Services

Growth rate was recorded at -1.6%. The biggest contributors are transport services: Land (-10.0%) and Others (-15.2%), and a big decline by Air transport (0.9% from 17.6%) and Education services (-4.7% from 14.4%). Communication (3.5%) and Finance (9.6%) saw an increase in growth rate.

Activities and growth rates are for the services sector are:

Wholesale and retail trade0.9%-3.5%
Land transport -6.7%-10.0%
Water transport-3.1%-9.5%
Air transport17.6%0.9%
Other transport services-15.6%-15.2%
Real estate & ownership of dwellings2.9%1.9%
Hotels -14.4%-6.9%
Restaurants -0.3%-0.9%
Health services -1.5%-2.4%
Education services 14.4%-4.7%
Business services-9.1%-12.6%
Domestic services2.0%2.0%
Other private services-2.5%-7.8%
Government Services/Public Administration-5.6%-2.7%

graph of gdp growth rate of brunei's service sector

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3. Inflation Rate

i. What is Inflation?

Inflation is defined as a sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services in a county, and is measured as an annual percentage change. Generally speaking, inflation means your money can buy less things in the future than it can today. A negative inflation is referred to as a deflation.

ii. Brunei Inflation Rate

Consumer Prices in Brunei declined to -0.2% year-on-year in February 2017. Though the cost of clothing surged by 2.6%, the downward pressure came from prices of other items particularly Heath by (-1.7%), Communications (-1.3%) and Restaurants and hotels (-1.2%).

graph of brunei's inflation rate from 2016 to 2017

Consumer Price ItemsPrice difference Feb 2017 compared to Feb 2016
Overall Index-0.2%
Food And Non-Alcoholic Beverages-0.6%
Clothing And Footwear2.6%
Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas And Other Fuels-0.3%
Furnishings, Household Equipment And Routine Household Maintenance0.2%
Recreation And Culture-0.4%
Restaurants And Hotels-1.2%
Miscellaneous Goods And Services0.6%

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4. Labour

  • The Labour Force Survey in 2014 found from the total working age population of 310,514, 6.9% were unemployed and about 12.5% of the working age population were underutilized.
  • The majority of the nation’s workforce are employed as sales and service staff (19.5%) and  professionals (17%). Public administration showed to be the biggest employer (26.2%).
  • In March 2016, the number of unemployed persons in Brunei came to about 10,073, continuing the trend of declining unemployment. This is possibly due to government initiatives over the years to increase employability or possibly people who found employment outside of Brunei. Nevertheless, this would put Brunei unemployment rate at 3.2% but without an official survey, this value is speculating at best.


diagram showing brunei's labour force survey 2014 by population

diagram showing brunei's labour force survey 2014 by occupation

diagram showing brunei's labour force survey 2014 by industry

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5. Reference Sources

Brunei Department of Economic Planning and Development

Brunei Labour Law Chapter 93

CIA World Factbook

International Monetary Fund Data and Statistics

Trading Economics Brunei Indicators

Global Finance Brunei Data

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