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Rising Nigeria, U.S. trade deals may have compelled FG to dump Chinese Yuan swap deal

More reasons are beginning to emerge as to why the federal government suddenly ran away from nearly completed Chinese Yuan swap over US dollar even after a deal was signed in Beijing by this time last year.

Experts say rising trade relations between Nigeria and the United States (U.S.) rose by 70.44 per cent from $799.93 million in January and to $1.36 billion in February, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

Data obtained from the Fact Sheet on Nigeria – U.S. Relations, showed that petroleum products dominated the U.S. import from Nigeria during the period in review. For instance, U.S. crude oil import from Nigeria stood at $936.65 million while gasoline import was $83.43 million.

Before the end of March last year, the federal government lead by president Muhammadu Buhari visited Beijing and sealed the Yaun swap deal but the takeoff of the operations seemed to be delayed owning reasons that have not been made public to Nigerians.

But analysts are putting up series of possible as being behind the sudden cold feet by the government in the Chinese deal.

Details from Nigeria-US trade statistics show that Petroleum gases, other gaseous hydrocarbons totaled $16.94 million. The previous year, there were no imports in this category. Also, nitrogenous fertilisers totaled $16.66 million, but there were no imports in this category the previous year.

According to the data, through February, 22 Customs districts posted trade surpluses with Nigeria while 13 had deficits. This compares with 25 surpluses and nine deficits for the same period a year ago.

The top surplus was with Houston at $132.63 million, while the largest deficit was with Philadelphia at $759.05 million. The top five U.S. exports to Nigeria, by value through February, were in the categories of Wheat; Gasoline, other fuels; Motor vehicles for transporting people; Corn; and Floating or submersible docks, platforms, respectively. They accounted for 54.27 per cent of total exports to Nigeria.

The value of the top five categories of U.S. imports from Nigeria – oil; gasoline, other fuels; Petroleum gases, other gaseous hydrocarbons; nitrogenous fertilisers; and cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 1801, accounted for 98.64 percent of all inbound shipments.

It added that U.S. exports to Nigeria include wheat, vehicles, machinery, kerosene, lubricating oils, jet fuel, civilian aircraft, and plastics. Nigeria is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). U.S. imports from Nigeria include crude oil, cocoa, cashew nuts, and animal feed.

“The United States and Nigeria have a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement. In January 2016, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, visited Nigeria on a fact-finding mission with senior U.S. business executives who comprised the Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. The Council’s visit underscored the broad U.S. commitment by both government and the private sector to advance economic engagement with Nigeria,” it added.

The total U.S. trade with the world increased to $592.18 billion, up 6.44 percent compared to the same period last year. United States exports climbed 6.68 per cent to $237.05 billion; imports climbed 6.28 percent to $355.13 billion.

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