Disappointing surplus in Q3

The latest data from the NBS in its report on foreign trade in goods for Q3 2018 show the total value of trade as N9.03trn, representing an increase of 31% on the preceding quarter. Compared with Q2, the total export value rose by 8% q/q to N4.85trn, while the import value increased by 75% q/q to N4.17trn. The net result is a surplus of US$680bn, a decline by -67% when compared to the surplus recorded in the previous quarter. The data was drawn primarily from the Nigerian Customs Service.

  • From the bureau’s commentary, we note that the surge in import value was primarily due to the importation of submersible drilling platforms for oil and gas driven projects.
  • We also note that the import value for raw materials picked up by 12% q/q. Although there has been forward movement with local substitution, a few finished products still require imported input. According to the report, cane sugar for sugar refining, milk as well as chemicals for fertilisers featured on the raw materials import list in Q3.
  • Similar to previous quarters, crude oil accounted for the largest share of exports in Q3, representing 85% of total exports. The value of crude oil exports rose by 10% q/q and 40% y/y.

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); FBNQuest Capital Research


  • The trade report now captures the preferred modes of transport of goods for exports to partner countries. As expected, sea transport dominated while road and air transport both accounted for less than 1%. Furthermore, the leading seaport of operation was Apapa which accounted for 98% of the total export transaction.
  • In the quarter under review, Nigeria exported goods valued at N341bn to ECOWAS members. This accounted for 48% of total export trade within Africa. At the recently concluded Africa Trade Fair hosted by African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) in Egypt, the FGN signed an MoU with AFREXIM for a trade facilitation vehicle worth US$1bn. This is expected to assist with diversifying Nigeria’s export basket with products that can compete in the global market.

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