Brunei GDP declines 1.2% in Q3 2018

Declining gas production has lead to Brunei’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to shrink by 1.2% to BND 4.511 billion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2018.

According to statistics released by the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) yesterday, the oil and gas sector declined by 2.4% to BND 2.593 billion. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and methanol was down 7.4%, with oil and gas mining down 0.7%.

LNG production in Q3 declined from 949.3 thousand million British thermal units per day (MMBtu) last year to 861.3 thousand MMBtu per day. However, crude oil production is up from 130.2 to 105.4 thousand barrels per day across the same period.

This year, Brunei recorded a positive GDP growth of 2.5% in the first quarter, before declining 2.8% in the second quarter. The Sultanate’s total GDP for the first nine months of 2018 stands at BND 13.581 billion – BND 57.4 million less than the same period in 2017.

The oil and gas sector continues to dominate the economy, accounting for 57.3% of gross value added (GVA) – a measure of all the goods and services produced in the Sultanate. The sector’s contribution is up 5.1% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the non-oil and gas sector increased from BND 1,994 million to BND 2,003 million at constant prices. The largest relative increases were seen in forestry (10.7%), electricity and water (6.4%) and other manufacturing (7.4%).

The biggest decreases outside oil and gas were in vegetables, fruit and other agriculture (-9.8%), food and beverage manufacturing (-6.3%) and construction (-2.5%).

The government’s expenditure also decreased by 0.6% to BND 1,016 million, corresponding to 22.6% of GDP. Household spending – which makes up 20.2% of GDP – decreased by 1.8% to BND 909.5 million.

Brunei’s gross capital formation is up 24.2% however, largely driven by a 33.1% increase in investment and capital expenditure from the private sector.

JPKE’s GDP growth rate is based on constant prices, an inflation adjusted measure for the value produced by an economy over a given year. Current prices meanwhile reflect the market value of goods and services.

Unadjusted for inflation, Brunei’s highest GDP in the past two decades was recorded in 2012 at USD 19.048 billion, before dropping for four consecutive years to USD 11.401 billion in 2016, largely due to a downturn in oil and gas prices.

In 2017, Brunei’s economy recovered from the recession by posting a 1.3% growth for a GDP of USD 12.128 billion.