For the first time in the last seven years, Nigeria recorded a decline of N793.5bn in the first quarter merchandise trade to close at N2.72tn from N3.51tn in the fourth quarter of 2015, the first time in the last seven years.
According to trade statistics report released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s drop in the first quarter trade represented a decline of about 22.6 per cent over what was recorded in the preceding quarter.
This it said was due to a sharp drop in both import and export trade.
The report read in part that “The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade at the end of Q1 2016 stood at N2.72tn. From the preceding quarter’s value of N3.51tn, this was N793.5bn or 22.6 per cent. This development arose due to a sharp decline in both imports and exports. Exports saw a decline of N671.1bn or 34.6 per cent, while imports declined by N122.4bn or 7.8 per cent.
“The steep decline in exports brought the country’s trade balance down to -N184.1bn, or N548.7bn less than in the preceding quarter.
“The crude oil component of the total trade decreased by N716.7bn or 46.6 per cent against the level recorded in Q4 2015.”
The structure of Nigeria’s import trade, according to the report, was dominated by the import of machinery and transport equipment, fuel and chemical-related products.
These, the NBS report stated, accounted for 34.7 per cent, 17.4 per cent and 14.7 per cent, respectively.
On the other hand, the report stated that commodities such as oils, fats and waxes; beverages and tobacco contributed the least, accounting for 1.5 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively.
In terms of exports, the report revealed that the highest export product for Nigeria in the first quarter was mineral products, which accounted for N1.05tn or 83 per cent of the total export earnings.
Further analysis of the report showed that in terms of exports by continent, Nigeria mainly exported goods to Europe and Asia, which accounted for N467.1bn or 36.8 per cent and N360.6bn or 28.4 per cent, respectively.
Furthermore, Nigeria exported goods valued at N161.3bn or 12.7 per cent to the continent of Africa, while that of the Economic Community of West African States was put at N50.4bn.
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