The poor performance of the Nigerian economy has shown in its external trade in the first quarter of the year. The total external trade decreased by N110.2 billion in the first quarter of the year. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in the first quarter of 2015 (Q1 2014) the total trade volume was N4.98 trillion and in the first quarter of 2015 the total trade volume is N4.87 trillion.

The bureau explained that the 2.2 percent drop occurred despite a rise of N275.6 billion or 9.3 percent in the value of exports compared to the preceding quarter. The country’s structure of exports was dominated by crude oil, which accounted for an estimated N2.25 trillion or 69.7 percent of the value of total exports in the period under review.

The statistical agency said a decline of N385.8 billion or 19 per cent in the value of imports resulted in an overall decline in the value of merchandise trade.

According to the Foreign Trade Statistics for the first quarter of 2015, which was released last week, the rise in exports and decline in imports, however, improved the country’s trade balance, which increased by 71.6 percent from the preceding quarter to N1.5 trillion.

Compared with the corresponding quarter of 2014, however, the value of total merchandise trade decreased by 639.5billion or 11.6 percent, while the trade balance decreased by N839.1 billion or 34.6 per cent.

According to the NBS, value of imports stood at N1.64 trillion in the first quarter of 2015, representing a decrease of N385.8billion or 19 per cent from N2.03 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter. However, year-on-year, the value of the country’s imports increased by N99.8billion or 6.5 percent from the first quarter of 2014 value of N1.54 trillion.

On the other hand, the value of exports totalled N3.23 trillion in the first quarter of 2015, representing an increase of N275.6billion or 9.3 per cent over the value recorded in the preceding quarter. Compared to the first quarter of 2014, the value of exports declined by N739.3billion or 18.6 percent.

In terms of the country’s top export destinations, India, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Brazil accounted for N436.6billion or 13.5 percent, N319.6billion or 9.9 percent, N263.4billion or 8.2 per cent, N260 billion or eight per cent and N257 billion or eight per cent of total exports respectively in the period under review.

On the other hand, Nigeria imported goods mostly from China, United States, Belgium, Netherlands and India, which respectively accounted for N387.5billion or 23.6 per cent, N133.8 billion or 8.1 per cent, N118.7 billion or 7.2 per cent, N108.7 billion or 6.6 per cent and N96.6 billion or 5.9 per cent of the total value of goods imported during the first quarter.

By Pita Ochai


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