Prof. Yemi Kale, head, NBS

Nigeria’s total foreign trade for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 rose to N9.12 trillion, representing an increase of 8.88% compared to N8.38 trillion recorded in the previous quarter.

This is according to the foreign trade report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report said total imports stood at N5.93 trillion, 10.1% increase compared to N5.38 trillion recorded in Q3 2020, while total export rose by 6.72% from N2.99 trillion to N3.19 trillion.

However, the country’s trade balance plunged further by 14.3% from a N2.39 trillion deficit recorded in the third quarter of 2020 to N2.73 trillion deficit in Q4 2020.

Total merchandise trade declined to N32.42 trillion in 2020, compared to N36.15 trillion in 2019, representing the first fall in total trade since 2019, after an annual consecutive increase from 2015.

The decrease is not unconnected with the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which had slowed down global businesses.

According to the Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q4 2020) which was posted on the NBS website, Q4 performance was lower by 9.9 per cent when compared to the N10.1 trillion in Q4 2019.

The value of trade in Q4 was the highest recorded over the past year, it added.

The export component of trade stood at N3.19 trillion, representing an increase of 6.7 per cent over the N2.99 trillion in the preceding quarter.

In addition, the share of exports in total trade declined to 35 per cent in Q4 from 47 per cent in Q4 2019.

On the other hand, total imports reached a record high at N5.93 trillion in the quarter under review, representing an increase of 10.1 per cent over the N5.38 trillion in the preceding quarter.

The NBS noted that the value of imports nearly doubled the value of exports, as trade deficit rose to its highest level and a fifth consecutive quarterly deficit at -N2.731.2billion, representing an increase of 14.30 per cent compared to Q3 2020.

Crude oil remained the predominant export which was 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 per cent higher than the previous year, while total exports was valued at N12. 52 trillion or 34.8 per cent less than in 2019.

The annual merchandise trade deficit in 2020 stood at -N7. 37 trillion, the statictical agency added.

India remained the top export destination for Nigeria during the quarter under review with N547.0 billion or 17.12 per cent total exports.

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 per cent respectively.

These five countries collectively accounted for 46.39 per cent of the value of total exports in Q4 2020.