Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The total value of Nigeriaâ€™s merchandise trade rose to N7.21 trillion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, signifying a 19.74 per cent rise over the N6.02 trillion recorded in Q4, 2017 and a 35.07 per cent growth from Q1, 2017 (N5.33 trillion).
The trade balance in Q1, 2018 was a surplus of N2.175 trillion, which is a 20.95 per cent increase from the figure in Q4, 2017 (N1.798 trillion) and a 221.08 increase from the figure in Q1, 2017 (N677.42 billion).
The quarter under review is the first in two years that the trade balance exceeded N2.00 trillion.
The strong growth of total trade in the quarter was mainly driven by the strong increase in export, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed in its latest trade figures.
Total value of imports in the review period was N2.518 trillion, 19.22 per cent higher than Q4, 2017 (N2.112 trillion) and 8.04 per cent higher than Q1, 2017 (N2.330 trillion).
The value of imported agricultural goods in the first quarter of 2018 (N184.49 billion) declined by 18.90 per cent from Q4, 2017 (N227.49 billion) and by 5.87 per cent from Q1, 2017 (N196 billion).
But raw materials imports in Q1, 2018 (N284.81 billion) grew by 1.93 per cent compared to Q4, 2017 (N279.41 billion) and by 9.89 per cent compared to Q1, 2017 (N259.17 billion).
Solid minerals imports in Q1, 2018 (N12.62 billion) decreased by 17.27 per cent on a quarter-to-quarter basis (N15.26 billion), however increased by 3.67 per cent on a year-to-year basis (N12.17 billion).
Energy goods imports in Q1, 2018 (N32.4 million) recorded 76.51 per cent decline in Q4 2017 (N138.1 million), and 205.28 per cent higher than Q1, 2017 (N10.6 million).
The value of manufactured goods imported in Q1 2018 (N1.189 trillion) declined by 1.65 per cent over the previous quarter (N1.209 trillion) but increased by 12.11 per cent over the same quarter in 2017 (N1.061 trillion).
The value of other oil products imported in Q1, 2018 (N846.31 billion) was 122.70 per cent higher than the value in Q4, 2017 (N380.03 billion) and 5.51 per cent higher than Q1, 2017 (N802.11 billion).
Total export value amounted to N4.693.34 trillion in Q1, 2018, representing a significant growth of 20.02 per cent over Q4, 2017 (N3.9 trillion) and 56.01 per cent over Q1, 2017 (N3.008 trillion).
The export value for agricultural goods in Q1, 2018 (N73.24 billion) was 63.84 per cent higher than the value in Q4, 2017 (N44.70 billion) and 24.01 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q1, 2017 (N59.06 billion).
Major traded agricultural exports in Q1 2018 were sesamum seeds, (broken or not–N26.65 billion), good fermented Nigerian cocoa beans (N23.30 billion), superior quality raw cocoa beans (N6.03 billion), cashew nuts in shell (N5.03 billion), soya beans (broken or not–N3.46 billion), and other frozen shrimps and prawns (N1.72 billion)
Raw material exports value decreased by 13.62 per cent in Q1, 2018 (N32.70 billion) compared to Q4, 2017 (N37.85 billion) but increased by 47.71 per cent compared to Q1, 2017 (N22.13 billion).
Solid minerals exports value in Q1 2018 (N26.92 billion) recorded a 12.96 per cent quarter on quarter growth (N23.83 billion), and a 58.50 per cent year on year growth rate compared to Q1, 2017 (N16.98 billion).
The value of energy goods exported in Q1, 2018 (N10.39 billion) was 8.8 per cent higher than that of Q4, 2017 (N9.55 billion) and 16.5 per cent higher than the value in Q1, 2017 (N8.92 billion).
Manufactured goods exports in Q1 2018 (N434.37 billion) saw significant growth by 684.11 per cent over the previous quarter (N55.39 billion), and by 576.90 per cent when compared to Q1, 2017 (N64.17 billion).
The value of crude oil exports recorded in Q1, 2018 (N3.58 trillion) was 10 per cent higher than the value in Q4, 2017 (N3.25 trillion) and 50.74 per cent higher than the value in Q1, 2017 (N2.374 trillion).
Other oil products exports in Q1, 2018 (N535.8 trillion) also grew steadily in the reviewing quarter, with a 10.53 per cent growth from Q4, 2017 (N484.65 billion) and a 15.92 per cent growth from the value recorded in Q1, 2017 (N462.10 billion).
The major export trading partners were Netherlands–20.5 per cent, India-18.2 per cent, and Spain– 8.3 per cent. Others are the United Statesâ€”8.2 per cent and Franceâ€”6.3 per cent.
Chinaâ€”21.1 per cent, Netherlands–12.1 per cent, Belgiumâ€”10.6 per cent, United Statesâ€”6.5 per cent, and India– 6.3 per cent were among major import trading partners.