Before the time when proper currency coins were issued in Brunei, cowry shells formed the part of currency system. Also, bronze teapots were exchanged in the barter trade regime. But in 1868, the country issued tin coins valued in ½ and 1 pitis. This was the time when the concept of a proper and consistent currency got induced. In 1888, the British took over the control of the country and introduced the straits dollar as the new currency and the first 1-cent coin was minted. As a British colony, Brunei had to use straits dollar as its currency for a long time and then the Malayan dollar came into existence in around 1940. For 13 years, the Malayan dollar was accepted as a legal tender till the Malaya and British Borneo dollar replaced it.
In 1967, Brunei started issuing its own currency in the form of Brunei dollar with the coming of the currency act and the establishment of the Brunei currency board. Till date, three issues of coinage have been made in 1967, 1968 and 1996 respectively. Also, in context of banknotes, four issues have been since 1967.
The Brunei dollar was introduced in 1967 i.e. much before the country gained its independence. Brunei currency board was established to manage the currency flow in the country with the issuance of the Currency Act. The currency board has the sole authority to manage and issue currency notes as well coinage in the currency. Brunei dollar banknotes are issued in 9 denominations that are $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $10,000. The banknotes in circulation comprise of both paper currency notes as well polymer currency notes, the latter being used for the smaller denominations of currency i.e. $1, $5 and $10 due to their high usage. The sizes of these notes vary according to the value they possess; lesser value gets the smaller size. The currency notes have different colours and the backside design on the notes depict various landscapes relating to the identity of the country.
Smaller values of currency are issued in the form of coins. Coinage, currently, is being issued in 5 denominations i.e. 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen. The old $1 coin is still accepted as a legal tender in Brunei though it is not minted now. The obverse sides of the coins in 3 different series have engraved portraits of different sultans of the state, i.e. the 1967 issue possess the image of late Sultan Omar Ali SaifuddienSaadulKhairiWaddien, the 1968 and 1993 issues have the image of Sultan Haji HassanalBolkiahMuizzaddin Waddaulah Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
Brunei dollar also popular as ringgit Brunei in Malay language, is the national currency of the State of Brunei and is one of the major dollar dominated currencies in Asia. The country switched over to the currency from Malay and British Borneo dollar in 1967. Like almost all the dollar currencies are denoted, Brunei dollar also, is denoted with "$" sign, and to differentiate from other dollar currencies, with "B$" sign alternatively. "Sen" forms the sub unit of the currency and breaks 1 unit into 100 equal parts. Brunei dollar has its ISO 4217 currency code as BND and numeric code as 096. The Monetary Authority of Singapore manages the Brunei dollar as well as the Singapore dollar.
The economy of Brunei is counted among the fairly successful economies in the world. Crude oil and gas provide cushion and are the major revenue sources for the country. Though, often looked upon as a diversified economy due to a mixture of foreign, domestic and government participation, it is effectively bound by its strong currency. Brunei dollar is pegged with the Singapore dollar, the latter being the official currency of countrys major trading partner. Moreover both the currencies have same values and are accepted as a customary tender in the other country. The import of local currency in the country does not have any limit amount and the import of other foreign currencies is free but before that it has to be declared except Indian banknotes. The limit for export of the local currency is $1000 in banknotes. In recent developments, polymer banknotes were also issued and circulated for the smaller values of the notes to counter forgery.
Although Brunei is small it has a wealthy economy. Inflation in Brunei is currently estimated at 1.2%. Brunei is mainly industry-based and industry accounts for 74% of the total GDP. Top industries in Brunei are petroleum refining, natural gas, construction, and petroleum. Unemployment is estimated at 3.7%. Brunei owns a cattle farm in Australia that is the main source of meat for Brunei. Import products are mainly food-related; however, the country is looking to diversify the agriculture and fishing industries to provide more of their own food.
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