In 1998, hit by the Asian financial crisis and falling world oil prices, the Brunei economy slipped into a mild recession with a 1 percent growth rate. Rising oil prices in late 1999 increased Brunei's economic growth, estimated at between 3 and 3.5 percent in 2000. Despite the beneficial rise in oil prices, Brunei has continued with plans to restructure its economy away from over-reliance on oil and gas. The Brunei Darussalam Economic Council (BDEC) will oversee this development. The government will continue with its short-term economic stimulus plan, boosting manufacturing and tourism and attempting to create an offshore financial center. However, the diversification effort remains impeded by high public sector remuneration, restrictions on activities open to foreign participation, and cumbersome foreign investment approval procedures.
Whether Brunei can achieve sustained economic growth and maintain high living standards depends heavily on the world economy, especially on world oil prices, and on the government's ability to formulate and implement successful economic measures to bring economic diversity.