Nigeria recorded an estimated total external trade of $26.74 billion in the first quarter of 2015, representing a decline of 17.1 per cent and 27.2 per cent, respectively, from their levels recorded in the preceding and corresponding quarters in 2014.
Specifically, crude oil and gas exports component declined from $18.96 billion and $20.85 billion in fourth quarter of 2014 and first quarter of 2014 to $13.30 billion and accounted for 92.9 per cent of aggregate exports in the review period.
The slide in the external trade profile has therefore been attributed to the decline in crude oil receipts, occasioned by fall in prices at the international market from an average of $70.00 per barrel in fourth 2014 to $54.50 in first quarter 2015.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which made this disclosure in its first quarter Economic Report for 2015 released at the weekend, stated that the performance of the external sector deteriorated further in the first quarter due to the negative outcomes of 4.5, 3.4 and 1.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), recorded respectively, in the overall balance, current, and capital and financial accounts.
According to the apex bank, these developments could be attributed to the continued decline in the global oil prices, as well as the repatriation of investment income and lower foreign investment flows, associated with the unpredictable political environment, during the national electioneering in first quarter of 2015.