By Cecilia Ologunagba
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade at the end of first quarter of 2017 was N5.292 billion.
Total exports for the period under review stood at N3, 006 billion while total imports stood at N2. 286.5 billion.
The NBS stated this in a report on it Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics for 1st Quarter of 2017 posted on the bureau’s website on Wednesday in Abuja.
The bureau said that the amount represented a slight increase of 0.1 per cent relative to the value of N5.286 billion recorded in the preceding quarter.
It said that the marginal rise in exports coupled with a slight decrease in imports brought the country’s trade balance to 719.4 billion during the period up from 671.3 billion.
The report said that it represented the second consecutive positive trade balance after fourth quarter of negative trade balance.
It said that the first positive trade balance was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 due to rising exports since fourth quarter of 2015 when trade was valued at N5.286 billion.
The bureau said that the total value of export grew by 0.9 per cent compared to that of the fourth quarter of 2016, while domestic exports reduced by 0.17 per cent in first quarter of 2017 against the level in fourth quarter of 2016.
It said that agricultural goods exports grew in value by 82 per cent in the quarter under review compare to fourth quarter of 2016.
The bureau said that raw material exports reduced by 25 per cent in the quarter against fourth quarter of 2016, while solid minerals exports was two per cent more in the quarter under review than the value recorded in fourth quarter 2016.
The report said that manufactured goods exports in quarter were 45 per cent more than the value attained in the fourth quarter of 2016.
It noted that crude oil exports were two per cent lower than the value recorded in fourth quarter while other oil products exports were eight per cent more in value in first quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.
The bureau said that major export trading partners to the country in the quarter were India, U. S, Spain, Netherlands and France.
The bureau said that India was the largest export partner to Nigeria which accounted for 22.24 per cent of export followed by the U.S. was 13.86 per cent and Spain accounted 10.81 per cent.
Other partners, it said were Netherlands which accounted for 8.32 per cent and France accounted for 6.5 per cent.
The bureau said that exports by section revealed that Nigeria exported mainly mineral products, which accounted for N2. 8 billion or 95.2 per cent of the total export value.
It said that other products exported by Nigeria included “prepared foodstuffs; beverages spirits and vinegar; tobacco” valued at N46.5 billion or 1.5 per cent, and vehicles, aircraft and parts thereof; vessels worth N 25.1 billion or 0.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, the bureau stated that China topped the major import trading partners of the country of 16.79 per cent; Belgium 14.88 per cent; Netherlands 10.80 per cent; U. S. 8.07 per cent; and India 4.53 per cent.
It said that the major traded agricultural products to the countries were Sesame seed, Soya Beans, Frozen shrimps and prawn, cashew nuts in shell and crude palm kernel oil.