Nigeria’s total merchandise trade deficit last year worsened remarkably increasing to -N7. 37 trillion, as the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted across the broad spectrum of the economy, particularly the real sector.
The latest ‘Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q4 2020)’ report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), indicated in the year under review, Nigeria’s total merchandise trade declined to N32.42 trillion, compared to N36.15 trillion in the preceding year.
The Bureau noted that the drop was the first in total trade recorded by the country since 2019, after an annual consecutive increase from 2015.
The Bureau partly attributed the decline in merchandise trade value to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which had slowed down global businesses.
However, despite the year-on-year decline, the country’s Q4, 2020 total trade increased by 8.9 percent to N9.12 trillion, compared to the N8.37 trillion in the preceding quarter. The Q4,2020 value was, however,
lower by 9.9 per cent when compared to the N10.1 trillion in Q4 2019.
An analysis of the merchandize trade on export-import basis indicated that the export trade stood at N3.19 trillion in the quarter under review, representing an increase of 6.7 per cent over the N2.99 trillion in the preceding quarter.
However, the share of exports in total trade declined to 35 per cent in Q4 from 47 per cent in Q4 2019.
On the imports component, the report showed that Nigeria’s imports grew significantly in Q4, 2020, peaking at N5.93 trillion or 10.1 percent increase over the N5.38 trillion in the preceding quarter.
According to the NBS, the official statistics producing and reporting agency, the value of imports nearly doubled the value of exports in the review quarter, with trade deficit rising to its highest level and a fifth consecutive quarterly deficit at -N2.731.2billion, representing an increase of 14.30 percent compared to Q3 2020.
As expected, crude oil remained the predominant export of the country with earnings from the source valued at N2.42 trillion, representing 81.02 per cent of total exports while non-crude oil exports stood at N568.2billion, or 18.98 per cent of total export during the review period.
On annual basis, the value of total imports in 2020 stood at N19.89 trillion or 17.3 percent higher than the previous year, while total exports was valued at N12. 52 trillion or 34.8 percent lower than the preceding year’s value.
On the top export destinations for Nigerian goods, the NBS further reported that India remained atop export destination table in Q4, 2020 with N547.0 billion or 17.12 per cent total exports.
In addition, the Bureau disclosed that exports to Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and the U.S.A. stood at N313.4 billion or 9.8 per cent, N256.7 billion or 8.03 per cent, N194.5 billion or 6.09 per cent, and N170.4 billion or 5.33 percent respectively.
The five countries collectively accounted for 46.39 percent of the value of Nigeria’s total exports in Q4, 2020.