The latest data from the NBS in its Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report for Q1 2018 show the total value of trade as N7.21trn, representing a 20% q/q increase from the preceding quarter. Compared with Q4 2017, the total export value was 20% higher at N4.69trn, while the import value grew by 19% q/q to N2.52trn. Thus a surplus of N2.18trn (US$7.1bn) was achieved. This is a significant increase of over 200% when compared with the corresponding period of the previous year, which posted a surplus of just N680bn.
Based on commentary from the bureau’s report, analysts note that the importation of finished products generally declined. However, imported inputs picked up by 10% y/y and 2% q/q. Given the current ease in sourcing fx, manufacturers have had better access to imported inputs for their finished products .
The trade statistics report offers additional data on the value of imported goods by sector. For Q1 agricultural goods recorded 20% q/q and 6% y/y decreases. This decline is partly linked to the modest success achieved by the FGN in its import substitution strategy, which has been primarily focused on agricultural products.
Export earnings in Q1 grew by 20% q/q and 56% y/y. The export value of agricultural goods surged by 64% q/q but represented only 2% of the total export value. However, crude oil gulped the largest share of exports, representing 76% of total exports in the quarter, and other oil products a further 11%.
Among non-oil exports, urea stood out with an export value of N16bn in Q1. The importers were Brazil, the US and Canada. Other export products featured on the list include sesame seeds (N27bn), cocoa beans (N23bn), zinc ore (N2.4bn) and natural rubber (N2.6bn).
Nigeria needs to shift from import dependency towards substitution. The federal ministry of industry, trade and investment has succeeded in making good strides in improving the country’s business environment, which should have a positive impact on export-focused businesses. However, there is still a long way to go.
Reporting for EasyKobo on Wednesday, 07 June 2018 from Lagos, Nigeria
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