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Brunei's households gain spending power

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN--A new report from the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) has revealed that Bruneian households are gaining more spending power with the average monthly income jumping 20 percent between 2005 and 2010/2011.

Average monthly household income in 2010/2011 was BR$5,670 (US$4,500), rising from BR$4,661 in 2005, said JPKE's Director General Dr. Hjh May Fa'ezah Hj Ahmad Ariffin.

Speaking to reporters at the launch of JPKE's report on household expenditure, Dr. Hjh May said the data indicated a shift towards higher-earning households.

The number of households earning more than BR$12,000 a month increased to 12.8 percent in 2010/2011, up from 7.2 percent in 2005, when the last survey was published.

Meanwhile, the proportion of households earning less than BR$1,000 dropped to 3.2 percent in 2010/2011, down from 8.4 percent five years earlier.

The income increase was due to several factors, such as the size of households getting bigger, Dr. Hjh May told the media.

JPKE interviewed more than 6,000 families for the study, which showed that 70 percent of households comprise five members or more.

To calculate the monthly income of a single household, JPKE factored in the income of all working adults living under one roof.

The increase in household income naturally leads to an increase in expenditure, said Dr. Hjh May, adding that average monthly spending increased by 5.8 percent since 2005.

The average household spent BR$2,895 per month on goods and services in 2010/2011, not including non-consumption expenditure such as loan repayments, bank deposits and property purchases.

Families spent the most on housing and utilities (water, electricity and gas), at an average of BR$968 per month, representing 33.4 percent of household expenditure.

At BR$387, food comprised just 13.4 percent of monthly expenses, while transport costs amounted to B$381 per month (13.2 percent).

Spending on tobacco products recorded the highest decrease, falling from BR$11 per month in 2005 to BR$6 in 2010/2011.

According to JPKE, monthly household spending has increased across all districts except Tutong.

Families in Brunei-Muara continue to be the biggest spenders with an average of BR$3,089 in monthly expenses, while Temburong families recorded the lowest monthly spending at BR$2,167.

Ownership and access to telecommunication equipment also rose, with 96.6 percent of households owning mobile phones, 81.6 percent having cable TV subscriptions, 70.8 percent possessing computers and 34.2 percent having internet access.

The number of households that owned motor vehicles also increased to 95.8 percent from 93.2 percent in 2005.

The report also revealed that home ownership surged to 72.7 percent (48,010 households) in 2010/2011 from 62.5 percent in 2005, representing an increase of 23 percent in just five years.

Data for the JPKE survey was collected from 6,000 households between Apr. 1, 2010 and Mar. 31, 2011.

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