*India remains major trading partner
James Emejo in Abuja
Nigeria’s total external merchandise trade rose by 2.50 per cent to N8.24 trillion in the first quarter of the year (Q1 2019) compared to N8.04 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year (Q4 2018), according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The figure represented an increase of 7.5 per cent when compared to the N7.66 trillion recorded in Q1 2018.
According to the Foreign Trade Statistics- Q1 2019, which was released Monday, the total value of exports stood at N4.53 trillion, representing a 1.78 per cent rise compared to the preceding quarter but dropped by 3.9 per cent compared to Q1 2018.
Also, the value of total imports increased to N3.70 trillion, representing an increase of 3.39 per cent relative to Q4 and 29.84 per cent rise when compared with Q1 2018.
The NBS said the country’s trade balance remained positive at N831.6 billion in Q1 2019, boosted by increase in both exports and imports.
The value of crude oil exports in Q1 was 7.78 per cent lower than the record in Q4- also 5.67 per cent lower than the figure Q1 2018.
The value of other oil product exports further decreased by 1.42 per cent compared to Q4, and 1.44 per cent compared to Q1 2018.
However, total exports increased by 1.78 per cent compared to the level recorded in Q4, 2018 but decreased by 3.90 per cent compared to its value in Q1, 2018.
Also, the value of agricultural exports was 11.89 per cent lower than in Q4 but 17.5 per cent higher than Q1 2018.
The value of raw material exports in Q1 dropped to 10.67 per cent compared to Q4 estimates, but was 11.57 per cent higher than in Q1 2018.
In addition, the value of solid mineral exports increased by 16.88 per cent relative to Q4 but decreased by 66.6 per cent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018.
Energy goods exports decreased by 1.3 per cent compared to the preceding quarter and increased by 2.17 per cent when compared with Q1 2018.
According to the NBS, the value of manufactured goods exports rose by 511.19 per cent in Q1 when compared with the value recorded in Q4 and by 6.43 per cent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018.
“The increase in export during the quarter was due to the re-export of vessels and other floating structures during the quarter, amongst other high value re-exports,” the statistical agency explained.
On the other hand, the total value of imports rose 3.39 per cent in Q1 compared to Q4, and by 25.84 per cent more than estimates in the corresponding quarter of 2018.
According to the NBS, imported agricultural products were 7.98 per cent higher in value than in Q4, and 28.1 per cent higher than in Q1, 2018.
It stated that the value of raw material imports grew 6.62 per cent more than the value recorded in Q4 and 20.76 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q1 2018.
The value of solid minerals imports was 1.26 per cent higher than the value of imports in Q4 and 35.90 per cent higher than the value recorded in the preceding quarter.
The value of energy goods imports was 20.28 per cent lower than in the preceding quarter.
Furthermore, the value of imported manufactured goods increased by 25.81 per cent in Q1 against the value recorded in Q4 and rose by 130.7 per cent compared to Q1, 2018.
According to the statistical agency, “The increase in value of imported manufactured goods was partly as a result of the importation of hygienic/ pharmaceutical product for humanitarian purposes during the quarter.”
The NBS added that the value of other oil products imported was 58.4 per cent lower than in Q4 and 72.71 per cent lower than the corresponding quarter of 2018.
Meanwhile, the country’s major export trading partners in Q1 included India, 16.43 per cent; Spain, 10.74 per cent; The Netherlands, 8.94 per cent; South Africa, 7.18 per cent; and France 6.67 per cent.
The major import trading partners within the review period were China, 26.4 per cent; Swaziland, 14.3 per cent; United States, 8.8 per cent; India, 6.6 per cent; and The Netherlands 4.1 per cent.