The latest foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria’s imports from China hit N1.9 trillion in the first half of 2019.  

According to the Bureau’s report, Nigeria almost doubled total imports from China as goods imported from the country rose by 88% in half-year (H1) 2019. Specifically, Nigeria’s import from China rose from N1.06 trillion in half-year 2018 to N1.99 trillion in the same period in 2019. 

It should be noted that China remains Nigeria’s biggest source of imports, while India currently stands as the nation’s biggest export market. Major items imported from China include natural rubbermotorcycles and so on.  

[READ MORE: Nigeria spends N1.11 trillion to service debt in half-year 2019]

By the Number: The NBS foreign trade reports contain Nigeria’s top ten import sources and exports destinations. A look into the 2018 and 2019 (year-to-date) NBS foreign trade reports shows that Nigeria’s imports largely come from China.  

  • In H1 2018, Nigeria imported goods to the tune of N1.06 billion from China, which represents 21% of the national total import base.  
  • According to the report, in H1 2019, China’s export to Nigeria hit 1.9 trillion.  
  •  In half-year 2019, other Nigeria’s top import sources include the U.S (N747 billion), India (N242 billion), Netherlands (N524 billion) and Belgium (N387 billion).  
  • In total, imports into Nigeria in half-year 2019 stood at N5.71 trillion.  

Nigeria’s biggest marketMeanwhile, while Nigeria’s top 10 exports hit a high in H1 2019, Nigeria also exported goods worth N6.56 trillion to the top ten (10) countries in the entire half year 2019.  

According to the NBS report, Nigeria’s total export trade was estimated at N7.71 trillion in H1 2019. This implies the top ten countries accounted for 85% of Nigeria’s total export trade.  

  • In Q1 2019, the NBS report shows that in terms of Nigeria’s export, India maintains the lead with N793.9 billion value of exports, representing 17.2% of Nigeria’s total export. Specifically, India imported N724.1 billion crude oil and N69.8 billion of non-crude oil.  
  • Comparing India’s Q1 import of N744.9 billion from Nigeria, it means India’s import from Nigeria rose by N48.9 billion.  
  • Spain was Nigeria’s second-biggest market in Q2 2019. The country imported N550 billion worth of goods from Nigeria, amounting to 11.97% of Nigeria’ total export.  
  • Exports to other countries include Netherlands (N478.3 billion), U.S (N353.1 billion), France (N276.9 billion), Italy (NN279 billion), South Africa (N213 billion), United Kingdom (N165.5 billion), China (N157 billion) and Brazil (N155 billion).  
  • It should be noted that Brazil made Nigeria’s top 10 trading partners for the first time in as many years. A quick check shows that the item Nigeria exported to Brazil was Urea 

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Upshots: Apparently, the two Asian countries (China and India) are Nigeria’s biggest marketsincidentally, China controls is both Nigeria’s biggest import sources and one of Nigeria’s biggest loan sources. A quick check of Nigeria’s debt profile shows that as at March 2019, Nigeria owed the Exim Bank of China $2.5 billion.  

  • While Nigeria is still largely import-dependent, the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S may further affect Nigeria either way. For instance, since Nigeria imports hugely from both countriesin the event of further escalation of the on-going trade warNigeria may severely be affected.   
  • Another downside is that the rising importation in Nigeria is driving the country’s trade balance on the low and this may expose the Nigerian economy in no distant time.  


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