Brunei Darussalam, Economy
sultan of Brunei, Kuala Belait, Royal Brunei Airlines, Muara, Bandar Seri Begawan
The economy of Brunei is overwhelmingly dependent on the production of petroleum and natural gas. Oil fields were first discovered at Seria in 1929, but production has now expanded to offshore fields. Crude-oil output in 1999 was 75 million barrels. Of minor importance to the economy is the production of rubber, pepper, and animal hides. Production of the chief food crop, rice, does not meet national needs. Local industries include cloth weaving and metalwork. Exploitation of the country’s forest reserves is increasing. The country has 1,150 km (715 mi) of roads, mostly along the coast. Rivers form the principal network of transportation into the interior. The chief ports are Bandar Seri Begawan, Kuala Belait, and Muara. Royal Brunei Airlines, the state-owned carrier, provides service to a number of international destinations.
Brunei’s unit of currency is the Brunei dollar (1.72 Brunei dollars equal U.S.$1; 2000 average). The gross domestic product (GDP) of $15,060 per capita in 1998 was among the world’s highest, although much of this wealth is concentrated in relatively few hands. Muda Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of Brunei since 1967, is one of the world’s wealthiest persons. Brunei is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional trade organization.
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