Brunei Darussalam is a small island in Asia and its official currency is the Brunei dollar. First issued in 1967, the Brunei dollar is represented by BND and the symbol '$' or sometimes 'B$'. The Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam is responsible for issuing the currency. The Bruneian dollar is divided into 100 subunits called cents. The Bruneian dollar is issued in both coins and banknotes. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. Currency notes in Brunei are commonly issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 dollars, whereas 20, 25, 500, 1000, and 10,000 dollar notes are produced but much less common. The Brunei dollar is interchangeable with the Singapore dollar and is sometimes used as a customary tender in Singapore.
The use of currency in Brunei is as old as the formal and informal trade networks in the island. In barter trade, cowrie shells and bronze pots were used as currency. Tin coins were introduced around the 12th century. Chinese coins were the earliest to be used in the country, mainly due to close links between China and Brunei. The pitis was the first Brunei-made currency and was used from the 16th century until the 20th century, when it was replaced by the Straits dollar. The Straits dollar was introduced in Brunei in 1906, and then later replaced in 1939 by the Malayan dollar. The Malayan dollar had an equal value to the Straits dollar and was used within the British colonies. In 1953, the British Borneo dollar was introduced, but later replaced by the Brunei dollar in 1967. Brunei also prints commemorative banknotes to mark the anniversary of various events. The most commonly printed notes are the 20 and 25 dollar notes.
Brunei has released banknotes in several series. The first series was issued in 1967 in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 dollar bills. The notes differed in color, with the notes coming in blue, green, red, brown, and purple colors. The second series of the Brunei dollar was released in 1972, and all notes had the portrait of Omar Ali Saifuddin III, who was the 28th paramount ruler and sultan of Brunei. In addition to the five denomination banknotes of the 1967 series, orange $500 and the brown $1000 notes were introduced, and included the portrait of Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th sultan of Brunei. A third series was released in 1989. The 10,000 dollar note was introduced in 2014, and with a value of $8000 US dollars, it is considered to be the most valuable banknote in the world. The fourth series was introduced between 1996 and 2000, and yet another series was released between 2004 and 2007, and later in 2011.
The Economy of Brunei
Brunei has one of the wealthiest economies in its region. The country depends on entrepreneurship and trade. Brunei exports crude oil, which accounts for almost half of the country's GDP. The country experiences an inflation rate of 1.2%, an unemployment rate of 3.7%, and has no public debt. The petroleum industry is the largest in the country and produces the third largest amount of crude oil in Asia. Increased foreign reserves and investments put the country in an advantageous position both now and in the future.