By Elizabeth Adegbesan
NIGERIA’s foreign trade dropped by 18 percent to N8.3 trillion in the first quarter of this year, Q1’20, from N10.12 trillion in Q4’19, recording a trade deficit of N138.98 billion during the period.
The fall in the country’s foreign trade was due to global slowdown in economic activities caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the period.
According to data obtained by Vanguard from the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS), ‘Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q1’20) Report’ released yesterday, the value of exported goods fell by 15 percent in Q1’20 to N4.8 trillion from N4.1 trillion in Q4’19.
The Bureau noted that the value of crude oil export, accounted for N2.9 trillion, representing 72 percent of total exports while non crude oil exports stood at N1.14 trillion, representing 28 percent of total exports during the period.
The report also showed that the value of imported goods declined in Q1’20 by 22 percent to N4.2 trillion from N5.4 trillion in Q4’19.
This was as a result of decline in the value of machinery, transport equipment, chemicals and related products and crude inedible materials.
The report stated: “The value of Nigeria’s total trade stood at N8.3 trillion in Q1’20.This was 17.9 percent lower than the value recorded in Q4’19 but 0.80 percent higher than the value recorded in Q1, 2019.
“The import component of this trade was valued at N4.2 trillion or 50.8 percent while the export component totalled N4.1 trillion, indicating 49.2 percent of the total trade.
“A trade deficit of N138.98 billion was recorded during the quarter, marking two consecutive quarters of negative balance of trade, as the value of imports surpassed exports.
“It is worth noting that the consecutive quarters of negative trade balances (and lower imports and exports) occurred against the backdrop of a global slowdown in economic activity as a result of the pandemic. The global health crisis resulted in several countries implementing varying degrees of restrictions with respect to international trade, travel and tourism.
“When compared with the preceding quarter, the deficit in Q1’20 represented an improvement by 76 percent. On a year -on-year basis however, the deficit was lower by 116.71 percent.”
On imports and exports, the Bureau stated: “Total imports stood at N4.2 trillion, indicating a decline of 21.08 percent in Q1′ 20 over the value recorded in Q4’19, but an increase of 13.99 percent when compared with Q1’19.
“The value of total exports in Q1’20 stood at N4.1 trillion. This indicates a decrease of 14.4 percent relative to Q4’19 and 9.98 percent compared to the value recorded in Q1’19.”
On crude oil exports, it stated: “Crude oil, Nigeria’s dominant export, accounted for N2.9 trillion, representing 72.12 percent of total exports in Q1’20. The value of crude oil export was 18.86 percent, less than the value recorded in Q4’19 and 12.8 percent lower than the value recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019. Non crude oil exports was valued at N1.14 trillion, representing 27.9 percent of total exports during the period under review.”