Nigeria Posts Negative Trade Balance in Q4

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• Puts merchandise trade at N36.15tn in 2019
James Emejo in Abuja

Nigeria recorded a trade deficit of N579.06 billion in the fourth quarter of last (Q4 2019), representing the first negative balance since 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday.

However, the value of total trade stood at N10.12 trillion in the period under review, which represented a 10.15 per cent increase over the N9.19 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter and 25.9 per cent increase relative to Q4, 2018.

According to the Foreign Trade Statistics – Q4 2019, released by the statistical agency, the value of the export component stood at (N4.77 trillion), which represented a drop by 9.79 per cent against Q3, but rose by 7.06 per cent when compared with the corresponding quarter in 2018.

Conversely, the total value of imports stood at N5.34 trillion, denoting an increase of 37.20 per cent in Q4 against Q3 and 49.34 per cent against Q4,2018.
The NBS however, noted that “the faster increase in imports resulted in a negative trade balance of N579.06 billion during the quarter under review, the first since mid-2016.”

Nevertheless, total trade for 2019 stood at N36.15 trillion, representing an increase of 14.05 per cent compared to N31.69 trillion in 2018.
The NBS said further noted that the level of imports stood at N16.95 trillion while exports were valued at N19.19 trillion, resulting in a trade balance of N2.23 trillion in 2019.

It stated that while imports rose by 28.8 per cent in 2019 over 2018, exports rose by only 3.6 per cent while trade balance was 58.4 per cent less than in 2018.

It said crude oil remained the dominant export valued at N3.62 trillion in Q4, and accounted for 76.1 per cent of total exports, while non crude oil exports amounted to N1.14 trillion or 23.9 per cent of total trade during the quarter.

According to the NBS, value of crude oil exports in Q4 was however 3.16 per cent lower than in Q3 and 0.88 per cent lower than the corresponding quarter of 2018.
On an annual basis, the value of crude oil exports at N14.69 trillion was lower than in 2018 by 3.08 per cent, it added.