•Declines by 5.1% in Q4
James Emejo in Abuja
Nigeria’s total merchandise trade increased by 39.31 per cent to N32.26 trillion (year on year) in 2018 compared to N23.16 trillion in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). NBS noted that the volume of total merchandise trade in 2018 was the highest recorded since 2014, and almost doubled the pre-recession levels.
However, total trade dropped by 5.1 per cent to N8.60 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018 (Q4 2018) compared to N9.06 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter, the NBS noted.
According to the Foreign Trade Statistics in Goods (Q4 2018), which was released by the statistical agency at the weekend, total export stood at N5.02 trillion in Q4, representing an increase of 3.5 per cent over Q3 and 28.5 per cent over Q4, 2017.
The import component stood at N3.58 trillion in Q4, indicating a decline of N631.6 billion or 15 per cent when compared to Q3 estimates, but showed an increase of 69.6 per cent when compared with the corresponding quarter in 2017.
NBS said the increase in export value and decrease in import value (relative to Q3 2018) resulted in a favourable trade balance of N1441 billion or 125.5 per cent over the preceding quarter.
However, crude oil export, which stood at N4.22 trillion, remained the mainstay of the economy and took the largest share of total exports (84.2 per cent) in Q4. The non-oil products accounted for 4.6 per cent of total exports, while other oil products accounted for 11.2 per cent of total exports in the review period.
According to NBS, the value of total exports in Q4 increased by 3.52 per cent compared to the level recorded in Q3, and was 28.46 per cent higher than Q4 2017 estimates.
Agricultural exports rose by 115.1 per cent in Q4 compared to Q3 2018 and 696.8 per cent compared to Q4 2017.
The statistical agency further stated that the value of raw material goods exports in Q4 was 26.7 per cent higher than the value in Q3 and 7.7 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q4 2017. It stated that the value of solid minerals exports decreased by 20.6 per cent compared to Q3 estimates and 67.7 per cent against the corresponding quarter in 2017.
Exports of energy goods increased in value by 6.1 per cent in Q4 compared to Q3 and by 12.7 per cent when compared with Q4 2017.
Furthermore, the value of manufactured goods exports rose by 14.97 per cent in Q4 when compared with the value recorded in Q3, but decreased 36.6 per cent against the corresponding quarter in 2017.
The value of crude oil exports in Q4 was 1.98 per cent higher than in Q3 2018 and 29.95 per cent higher than in Q4 2017.
Meanwhile, India, Spain, France, South Africa and the Netherlands constituted the country’s major export trading partners in Q4 while China, the United States, Netherlands, India and Belgium were the major import trading partners.