Brunei’s economy grows by 2.4pc in Q1 2020

In the first quarter of 2020, Brunei Darussalam’s gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices was estimated at BND4.56 billion compared to BND4.55 billion in Q1 2019.

The oil and gas sector, comprising oil and gas mining and manufacturing of liquefied natural gas (LNG), was valued at BND2.4 billion which accounted for 52.3 per cent of the total gross value added (GVA).

Meanwhile, the non-oil and gas sector, which now includes downstream activities such as the manufacturing of petroleum and chemical products, contributed 47.7 per cent with a GVA of BND2.2 billion.

At constant prices, GDP recorded a positive growth of 2.4 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2020, according to a press release.

The growth was contributed by the increase in the non-oil and gas sector by 10.9 per cent. Meanwhile, the oil and gas sector recorded a decrease by four per cent.

The growth in the non-oil and gas sector was mainly due to the downstream activities including a new production of petroleum and chemical products, with a GVA of BND294.9 million at constant prices.

Meanwhile, the decline in the oil and gas sector was mainly due to the decrease in crude oil production from 126.9 thousand barrels per day in Q1 2019 to 116.2 thousand barrels per day in Q1 2020.

In addition, natural gas production also recorded a decrease from 35.5 million cubic metres per day to 34.8 million cubic metres per day in the same period of time. LNG production also recorded a decrease to 1,001,467 MMBtu per day in Q1 2020 from 1,028,387 MMbtu per day in Q1 2019.

By kind of economic activity, the positive growth year-on-year in Q1 2020 was due to an increase in the industry sector by 5.3 per cent following the new production of petroleum and chemical products.

This was followed by the agriculture, forestry and fishery sector which increased by five per cent following the increase in the production of fishery, livestock and poultry, and vegetables, fruits and other agriculture subsectors.

An increase in the fishery activities was mainly due to the small scale capture industry and aquaculture activities such as shrimp, cage fish and freshwater fish.

Meanwhile, an increase in livestock and poultry activities was associated with an increase in the production of beef, chicken and egg. The increase in the production of paddy has led to an increase in the agriculture activity.

However, the services sector decreased by 2.5 per cent due to the decrease in the subsectors such as finance, government services, and air transport.

A contraction in the finance subsector by 14.4 per cent attributed to the decline in investment income related to banking and insurance services activities.

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a decline in some service activities such as air transport subsector by 21.8 per cent due to reduced travel operations.

This also resulted in a decline in the hotel subsector.

Although the overall services sector recorded a decrease, sever;al subsectors under this sector have showed an increase such as wholesale and retail trade (4.1 per cent), business services (7.7 per cent), real estate and property ownership (2.8 per cent) and health services (6.3 per cent).

The growth in the wholesale and retail trade subsector was in line with the increase in sales recorded such as in supermarket and department store.

By expenditure approach, GDP growth was attributed to an increase in the external demand (exports of goods and services) by 29.1 per cent, in line with the new exports of petroleum and chemical products.

Domestic demand registered a negative growth of 12.4 per cent, particularly in capital expenditure.

However, this was moderated by the increase in the household final consumption expenditure by 2.1 per cent.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of the total value of goods and services produced in a particular period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production.

The GDP full report for the first quarter of 2020 is available from the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics’s website: www.deps.gov.bn.