Nigeria records trade deficit as exports drop

Nigeria has recorded its first quarterly trade deficit since July 2016 as the value of its exports fell by 9.79 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 while imports surged by 37.20 per cent.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report released on Friday, said the value of the nation’s total trade rose by 10.15 per cent to N10.12tn in Q4 2019 over the value recorded in Q3.

It said the value of the export component dropped by 9.79 per cent to N4.77tn in Q4 compared to Q3, while the import component increased by 37.20 per cent to N5.35tn.

“The faster increase in imports resulted in a negative trade balance of N579.06bn during the quarter under review, the first since mid-2016,” the NBS said.

According to the report, the value of total trade in 2019 rose by 14.05 per cent to N36.15tn compared to 2018.

The bureau, however, noted that the value of total trade jumped by 36.86 per cent year-on-year in 2018.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the value of total trade was N10.1tn, which was 10.2 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q3, 2019, and 25.9 per cent higher than in Q4 2018.

Total imports stood at N5.34tn in Q4 2019, representing an increase of 37.2 per cent over the value recorded in Q3 2019 and 49.34 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2018.

In 2019, the total imports grew by 28.8 per cent compared to 2018.

The NBS stated that the value of imported agricultural goods decreased by 2.8 per cent in Q4 2019, compared to Q3 but rose by 6.6 per cent, compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018.

The value of agricultural imports in 2019 was 12.7 per cent higher than in 2018, it added.

Raw material imports were 1.63 per cent higher in Q4 2019, compared to Q3 and 8.47 per cent higher, compared to Q4,2018.

Imports of raw materials grew 19.2 per cent in 2019, compared to 2018.

It also showed that solid minerals imports decreased in value by 6.98 per cent in Q4 2019, relative to Q3 2019 but were higher by 5.11 per cent relative to Q4,2018.

The NBS stated that the value of solid minerals imports rose 28.1 per cent in 2019, compared to 2018.

It added that the value of imported manufactured goods was 40.74 per cent higher in Q4 2019 than the level attained in Q3 2019 and 77.50 per cent more than in Q4,2018.

This was due to the importation of other electro-diagnostic apparatus during the quarter.

For 2019, the value of imported manufactured goods imports was 60 per cent higher than in 2018.

The value of energy goods imports decreased by 65.27 per cent in Q4 2019, compared to Q3 2019 and by 75.86 per cent, compared to Q4 2018.

For 2019, the value of energy goods imports fell by 56.2 per cent, compared to a year earlier.

Other oil products’ imports were 60.59 per cent higher in value in Q4 2019 than in Q3 2019 and 2.11 per cent higher than Q4,2018.

For annual 2019, the value of other oil products imports fell by 34.3 per cent, relative to 2018 levels.

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