Nigeria’s Merchandise Trade Fell by 9% Y-o-Y to US$25.1bn in Q4 2023

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June 3, 2024/FBNQuest Research

The total provisional value of merchandise trade fell slightly by -1.0% Q-o-Q and -9% Y-o-Y to US$25.1bn in Q4 2023 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) latest quarterly statistical bulletin. This decline was primarily due to reduced import trade, which decreased by 5% Q-o-Q and 16% Y-o-Y to US$11.0bn. Conversely, the value of export trade increased by a modest 3% Q-o-Q to US$14.1bn in Q4, although it declined slightly by 3% Y-o-Y.

  • Consequently, the trade position resulted in a higher net trade surplus of US$3.1bn in Q4, compared with US$2.1bn and US$1.5bn in Q3 2023 and Q4 2022, respectively.
  • A breakdown of the export trade figures shows that crude oil and gas accounted for about 93% of the total export trade value at almost US$13.1bn. This compares with about US$12.6bn recorded in Q3 2023 and Q1 2023.
  • Crude oil prices witnessed a drop during the quarter. According to CBN’s Nigeria’s reference crude data, the average cost of Nigeria’s benchmark crude blend, the Bonny light, settled at US$86.6/b, compared with US$88.9/b and US$90.8/b in Q3 2023 and Q4 2022, respectively.
  • Consequently, the crude oil and gas exports increase can be attributed to the higher oil production volume in Q4.
  • For context, data from the NBS reveals that the average crude oil production in Q1 2024 came in at 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), higher than 1.45 mbpd and 1.34 mbpd recorded in Q3 2023 and Q1 2024, respectively.      
  • Conversely, non-oil export earnings, which constituted about 7% of the total export trade value, decreased by -6% Q-o-Q to US$999.1m in Q4.  
  • Regarding merchandise imports, the trade value of imports has been on a downward trend since Q2 2023, primarily due to challenges around FX liquidity. 
  • A breakdown of the data shows that non-oil imports, which contributed to about 61% of merchandise import value, declined by -11% Q-o-Q to US$6.7bn, while oil import trade value fell slightly by -1% Q-o-Q to US$3.7bn in Q4.

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