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Macro-Economic News

UPDATED: Nigeria’s foreign trade drops to N8.3 trillion, down by 18% in Q1 2020

Nigeria’s total foreign trade (import and export) rose marginally by 0.8% year on year, when compared to N8.24 trillion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.



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Nigeria’s total foreign trade (import and export) dropped by 18% in Q1 2020, from N10.12 trillion in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2019 to N8.3 trillion at the end of Q1 2020. This was disclosed in the latest foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the report, the year-on-year total foreign trade increased by 0.8%, from N8.23 trillion in Q1 2019 to N8.3 trillion in Q1 2020, reflecting the early effects of disruption caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

Basic highlights

  • As at the end Q1 2020, Nigeria’s total foreign trade balance remained in the negative region.
  • In Q1 2019, total import for the period stood at N4.22 trillion while total export was N4.08 trillion indicating a negative trade balance of N138.99 billion.
  • The value of total imports decreased by 21.08% in Q1, 2020 compared to the value recorded in Q4 2019 but was 13.99% higher when compared with Q1, 2019.
  • Also, the value of imported agricultural goods increased by 12.02% in Q1 2020 compared to Q4 2019 and 10.62% more than Q1 2019.
  • The value of Agricultural goods exports grew 85.36% in Q1,2020 compared to Q4,2019
  • Manufactured goods exports decreased by 12.72% in value in Q1,2020 compared to Q4 2019

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Nigeria received $5.85 billion capital inflows in Q1 2020 –NBS

Nigeria’s export downturn

A closer look into the data shows that Nigeria recorded its lowest export value in eight quarters since it recorded a total of N3.91 trillion in Q4 2017. A case which has clearly affected the value of crude oil exports and non-crude oil simultaneously.

According to the report, crude oil export (N2.94 trillion) dipped by 18.9% in Q1 2020 compared to N3.63 trillion recorded in Q4 2019 and sloped to its lowest in 11 quarters since Q2 2017 when the total crude oil export was estimated at N2.43 trillion, while non-crude oil export (N1.14 trillion) reduced marginally by 0.27% as against N1.14 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter Q4 2019.

Nigeria's Foreign trade, Q1 2020

It is worth noting that value of exported agricultural goods stood at N126.35 billion in Q1 2020, indicating 85.36% increase compared to N68.16 billion recorded in Q4 2019. The majorly traded agricultural products include; Sesamum seeds, Good fermented cocoa beans, superior quality raw cocoa beans, Natural cocoa butter, Cashew nuts, Ginger etc.

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Top trade destinations

In Q1 2020, Nigeria exported goods majorly to India, Spain, Netherlands, South Africa and Cameroon while our major Import sources include China, Netherlands, United States, India and Belgium.

India accounted for 15.61% (N637.53 billion) of the total value of exported goods by region, followed by Spain which accounted for 9.87% (N402.93 billion) of our total exports between January and March 2020.

Top Nigeria’s export nations

  • India – 15.61%
  • Spain – 9.87%
  • Netherlands – 9.72%
  • South Africa – 7.82%
  • Cameroon – 7.82%

READ ALSO: Bank’s lending rates decline albeit slower than expected

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s export to ECOWAS member states between January and March 2020, was estimated at N296.29 billion, representing 30.29% of the total export to Africa while Other regions of the continent accounted for 69.71% (N681.92 billion) to the total export.

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In the same vein, Nigeria imported goods valued at N1.11 trillion from China, accounting for 26.28% of the total value of exported items in the first quarter of 2020. The Netherlands followed, having accounted for 11.14% (470.11 billion) of the total export.

Imports from African countries stood at N118.95 billion in Q1 2020, representing 2.82% of Nigeria’s total import between January and March 2020.

Top Nigeria’s import nations

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  • China – 26.28%
  • Netherlands – 11.14%
  • USA – 10.45%
  • India – 7.92%
  • Belgium – 6.11%

READ MORE: Despite intensive advertising, International Breweries reported lower revenue and a loss

Implication for Nigeria’s economy

The latest report shows that Nigeria has maintained its negative trade balance from Q4 2019, which indicates that we are exporting more than we are importing, consequently affecting the country’s foreign reserve.

  • A decline in the export of manufactured goods is an indication of the country’s low industrial and manufacturing industry.
  • Despite the increase in Agricultural export, there was also a recorded increase in the import value as well, which directly contradicts the essence of border closure as a measure of discouraging importation.
  • It is expected that the Q2 2020 report will give a full reflection of the effect of COVID-19 and lockdown procedures on Nigeria’s trade balance.
  • Note that during the lockdown, ban was placed on international travel by most countries which would affect our export capacity. Also, medical supplies and ventilators used in isolation centers in Nigeria are were not manufactured in Nigeria, consequently affecting the country’s trade balance.

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Macro-Economic News

Transport fare watch: Motorcycle “Okada” commuters paid less in January 2021

Commuters on motorcycle per drop (Okada) paid less in January 2021 than they did in December 2020.



Transport fare for motorcycle "Okada" more than doubled in 2020, Lagos State bans Gokada, ORide, MaxNG, others from 15 local governments 

The average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop decreased by 11.60% month-on-month and increased by 95.22% year-on-year to N259.33 in January 2021 from N293.36 in December 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report for the month of January 2021.

According to the report, commuters in  Taraba (N400.80), Yobe (N400.15) and Rivers (N400.00) paid the highest journey fare by motorcycle per drop while commuters in Adamawa (N84.22), Katsina (N134.90) and Kebbi (N152.05) paid the lowest journey fare by motorcycle per drop.

READ: Transport Fare: Motorcycle “Okada” commuters paid more in November

Other key highlights

  • The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity decreased by 0.25% month-on-month and increased by 39.55% year-on-year to N2,346.41 in January 2021 from N2,352.19 in December 2020.
  • Commuters in Abuja FCT (N4,482.24), Lagos (N3,300.23) and Sokoto (N3,300.00) paid the highest bus journey fare intercity while commuters in Bayelsa (N1,600.45), Bauchi (N1,640.20) and Enugu (N1,687.45) paid the lowest bus journey fare within city.
  • The average fare paid by commuters for bus journey within the city decreased by 0.66% month-on-month and increased by 74.75% year-on-year to N352.15 in January 2021 from N354.49 in December 2020.
  • Commuters in Zamfara (N600.00), Bauchi (N522.75) and Ekiti (N458.77) paid the highest bus journey fare within city while commuters in Oyo (N189.46), Abia (N205.22) and Borno (N240.79) paid the lowest bus journey fare within city.
  • The average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey increased by 0.02% month-on-month and by 18.27% year-on-year to N36,463.65 in January 2021 from N36,454.59 in December 2020.
  • Passengers in Anambra (N38,600.00), Cross River/Jigawa/Lagos (N38,500.00), Bauchi (N38,400.00) paid the highest airfare while States with lowest airfare were Akwa Ibom (N32,450.00), Sokoto (N33,700.00), and Gombe (N35,000.00).
  • The average fare paid by passengers for water way passenger transport increased by 3.68% month-on-month and by 38.58% year-on-year to N786.19 in January 2021 from N758.27 in December 2020.
  • Passengers in Rivers (N2,280.00), Delta (N2,250.45) and Bayelsa (N2,200.10) paid the highest fare by water while states with lowest fare by waterway passenger transport were Borno (N245.10), Gombe (N290.77) and Kebbi (N340.00).

READ: Transport fare for motorcycle “Okada” more than doubled in 2020

Why this matters

Transportation cost takes a huge portion of budget for most lower/middle-class Nigerians and as well takes not less than 20% of their take-home pay packages.

The drop in fares paid by the commuters on motorcycle per drop (Okada) is a welcome development.

Transport by motorcycle (Okada) has been popularly adopted in most cities by businessmen, government workers, and students to overcome traffic congestion, and for the advantage that it can navigate roads that are inaccessible to automobiles and buses, particularly in villages and urban slums.

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Macro-Economic News

The moment Emefiele predicted Nigeria will be out of recession in Q4 2020

The CBN Governor had expressed optimism last year that the country was going to come out of recession in Q4 of 2020.



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It is no longer news that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, against all expectations exited recession as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.11% in the last quarter of 2020 (year on year).

However, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had expressed optimism last year that the country was going to come out of recession in the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this is the first positive quarterly growth in the last 3 quarters following growth in telecommunications and agriculture which seem to make up for the sharp drop in oil prices and production.

The surprising rebound of the Nigerian economy is coming against the prediction of the country’s Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who while speaking at the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit, said that Nigeria is expected to exit recession by the first quarter of 2021.

The CBN Governor had during the November 2020 Monetary Policy Committee meeting, predicted that the country was going to come out of recession by the fourth quarter of 2020.

This as he said that many analysts expressed doubts about that and were waiting to prove him wrong.

In a video during a press conference as seen by Nairametrics, Emefiele said, “You said that in November MPC, I was cautiously optimistic that fourth-quarter GDP will be positive thereby taking Nigeria out of a recession that I was aggressively optimistic that during the first quarter, we will exit recession. I am praying very seriously that my prayer should be heard because I know that people are waiting to put my neck on the chopping board to say that I do not know my work.’’

What you should know

  • Despite Nigeria’s surprise exit from recession, experts have still expressed their reservations about the country’s weak economy which is faced with several challenges for businesses ranging from foreign exchange pressure, high unemployment level, increasing consumer prices, serious security challenges, weak investor confidence, etc.
  • This is as the growth in GDP was primarily driven by the Information and Communication sector and the Agricultural sector.
  • However, the surprise rebound of the economy means that Nigeria may recover faster than expected as crude oil prices and production increase this year.
  • This also shows that the country needs to redouble its efforts in the growth of the non-oil sector which contributed 94.13% to Nigeria’s GDP.

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