Brunei Darussalam Economy Articles & Analysis

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Chapter | Country Profile from The Report: Brunei Darussalam 2016

While both 2015 and 2016 have held numerous important changes for Brunei Darussalam, the nation has long maintained its unique balance of tradition and modernity. Classified as a unitary Islamic monarchy, the Sultanate has maintained a stable form of government since its independence in 1984. Historically, the oil and gas industry has dominated the Bruneian economy and has allowed the...

Commanding the second-highest GDP per capita of all ASEAN nations, at $40,979 in 2014, Brunei Darussalam remains one of the most advanced economies in the South-east Asian region. This is in large part due to the Sultanate’s well-developed energy sector; however, with oil and gas prices falling substantially from mid-2014, new efforts are being made to increase the efficiency of production and diversify the economy to ensure future stability and sustainability.

Infrastructure was a major beneficiary in Brunei Darussalam’s budget for FY 2016/17, alongside other key segments of the economy expected to steer the country toward more robust growth.

Amid concerns that Brunei Darussalam’s budget deficit could exceed earlier forecasts, Pehin Dato Abd Rahman Ibrahim, the second minister of finance, delivered a precautionary speech in January, emphasising the importance of public spending cuts.

While 2015 saw some progress in Brunei Darussalam’s ongoing diversification efforts, the challenging external climate, together with an increasingly competitive regional environment, further underscored the importance of pursuing non-oil revenue sources. 

Foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade in Brunei Darussalam are expected to increase under the recently agreed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, dovetailing with the Sultanate’s efforts to diversify its economy.