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Nigerian economy ends year with more exports than imports for the first time

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Available international trading statistics have revealed that unlike previous years, the Nigerian economy is ending 2019 business year on a positive trade balance.

Otherwise, relative to the corresponding period of the previous year, Nigeria’s trade surplus position improved markedly by 117.4% to NGN1.39tn in Q3-19.

Fact check showed that the rapid pace of expansion was on account of a significant improvement in export (+9.0% y/y) which ran ahead of import (-7.5% y/y). Dissecting the components, it was observed that non-oil export (+561.7% y/y) was the primary driver of the total export, even as oil export – 70.9% of total export – moderated in the period.

Further breakdowns revealed manufactured goods (+1415.0% y/y) as the key support for non-oil export. Meanwhile, the decline in imports emanated from the combination of manufactured goods (-3.5% y/y) and other oil products (-54.6% y/y), both of which account for 81.3% of total imports. We see legroom for further improvement in the trade balance, amid the lingering land border closure, which is expected to keep import at bay. To add, a recovery in crude oil price is also expected to lift overall export in Q4-19.

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