Nigeria's Merchandise Trade Grew in Q4 2019; Imports Rose Faster Exceeding Falling Exports


Friday, March 06, 2020   /05:00 PM / By NBS/ Header Image Credit: NBS


Key Highlights


Total Trade

  • In Q4 2019, the value of total trade was N10.1trillion, or 10.2%  higher than the value recorded in Q3, 2019 and 25.9% higher than in Q4 2018. On an annual basis, the value of total trade in 2019 was recorded at N36,152.1 billion, representing a 14.05% increase over 2018.




  • Total imports stood at N5,349.63 billion in Q4, 2019 representing an increase  of 37.2% over the value recorded in Q3,2019 and 49.34% over the corresponding quarter of 2018. In 2019, total imports grew by 28.8% compared to 2018.
  • The value of imported Agricultural goods decreased by 2.8% in Q4, 2019 compared to Q3 but rose 6.6% compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018. The value of agricultural imports in 2019 was 12.7% higher than in 2018.
  • Raw material imports were 1.63% higher in Q4,2019 compared to Q3 and 8.47% higher compared to Q4,2018. Imports of raw materials grew 19.2% in 2019 compared to 2018.
  • Solid  minerals imports decreased in value by 6.98% in Q4,2019 relative to Q3,2019 but were higher by 5.11% relative to Q4,2018. The value of solid minerals imports rose 28.1% in 2019 compared to 2018.
  • The value of imported Manufactured goods was 40.74% higher in Q4,2019 than the  level attained in Q3,2019 and 77.50% more than in Q4,2018.This was due to the importation of other electrodiagnostic apparatus during the quarter. For 2019, the value of imported manufactured goods imports was 60% higher than in 2018.
  • The value of energy goods imports decreased by 65.27% in Q4,2019 compared to Q3,2019 and by 75.86% compared to Q4,2018. For 2019, the value of energy goods imports fell by 56.2% compared to a year earlier.
  • Other oil products imports were 60.59% higher in value in Q4,2019 than in Q3,2019 and 2.11% higher than Q4,2018. For annual 2019, the value of other oil products imports fell by 34.3% relative to 2018 levels.


  • Total export value was 9.79% lower in value in Q4, 2019 compared to Q3,2019 but 7.06% higher relative to Q4,2018. In 2019, the value of total exports was 3.56% higher than in 2018.
  • Agricultural goods exports grew in value by 61.89% in Q4, 2019 compared to Q3,2019 but decreased by 30.23%  when compared with  Q4,2018. In 2019, the value of agricultural goods exports fell 10.74% relative to 2018.
  • Raw material exports declined in value by 27.99% in Q4,2019 against the level in Q3,2019 and by 48.18% against Q4 2018. On an annual basis, raw material exports fell 14.02% in 2019 compared to 2018.
  • Solid minerals exports in Q4,2019 were 69.58% lower than the value  recorded in Q3,2019 and 75.10%  less than Q4,2018. The 2019 value of solid minerals exports was 61.52% lower than in 2018.
  • Manufactured goods exports in Q4,2019 were 48.9% less in value than recorded in Q3,2019 and 573.19% higher than Q4,2018. In 2019, the value of manufactured goods exports was over 200% higher than in 2018.
  • Crude oil exports in Q4,2019 were 3.16% lower than the value in Q3, 2019 and 0.88% lower than Q4,2018. For 2019, the value of oil exports was lower than in 2018 by 3.08%.
  • Other oil products export were 16.13% higher in value in Q4,2019 compared to Q3,2019 but 4.85% lower than the level in Q4,2018. The value of other oil exports was 9.2% lower in 2019 than in 2018.
  • Energy goods exports in Q4,2019 grew by 7.29% against the level in Q3,2019 but declined by 44.36% when compared with Q4,2018. In 2019, the value of energy goods exports was lower by 25.49% compared to 2018.

Major export trading partners and percentage share in q4, 2019 export trade:







The Netherlands











Major import trading partners and percentage share in Q4, 2019 import trade





United States


The Netherlands





Major Traded Agricultural Products.

  • Sesamum seeds, whether or not broken
  • Good Fermented Nigerian Cocoa Beans
  • Other Frozen shrimps and prawns
  • Sesame oil and its fractions
  • Cashew nuts, shelled
  • Superior quality raw cocoa beans
  • Agro Food Items
  • Natural cocoa butter



The value of Nigeria's total trade stood at N10,120.20 billion in Q4,2019 representing a 10.15% increase over the value recorded  in Q3, 2019 and 25.9% increase  relative to Q4, 2018. The value of the export component (N4,770.57 billion) fell by 9.79% against Q3, 2019 but rose by  7.06% when compared with  the corresponding quarter  in 2018. On the other hand, the import component (valued at N5,349.63 billion) increased by 37.20% in Q4 against Q3,2019 and 49.34% against Q4,2018. The faster increase in imports resulted in a negative trade balance of N579.06billion during the quarter under review, the first since mid-2016.


On an annual basis, the value of total trade in 2019 was recorded at N36,152.1 billion, representing a 14.05% increase over 2018. However, this was lower than 36.86% recorded in 2018 over 2017. The level of imports stood at N16,959.9 billion while exports were valued at N19,192.2 billion, resulting in a trade balance of N2,232.4billion. While imports rose by 28.8% in 2019 over 2018, exports rose by only 3.6%, and the trade balance was 58.4% less than in 2018.

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In Q4, 2019, Crude oil remained the dominant export valued at N3,629.24 billion and accounting for 76.1% of total  exports, while non crude oil exports amounted to N1,141.3billion or 23.9%. However the value of crude oil exports in Q4,2019 was 3.16% lower than in Q3,2019 and 0.88% lower than  the corresponding quarter of 2018. On an annual basis, the value of crude oil exports at N14,690.02billion,  was lower than in 2018 by 3.08%.

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Imports Classified by Standard International Trade Classification and country of Origin

Total imports stood at N5,349.63 billion in Q4, 2019 representing an increase  of 37.2% over the value recorded in Q3,2019 and 49.34% over the corresponding quarter of 2018. This was due to increases in the values of imported machinery and transport equipment (which increased by N866.5billion or 47.03%) and Mineral fuels (N320.3billion or 60.68%) in Q4,2019 over their values in Q3,2019.

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During the quarter, Nigeria imported goods mainly from Asia, valued at N3,008.69 billion or 56.24% of total imports. Other major imports originated from Europe, valued at N1,550.36billion or 28.98% while imports from America and Africa amounted to N668.57billion or 12.50% and N113.99 billion or 2.13% respectively. Import from Oceania stood at N8.01billion or 0.15% of total imports while goods valued at N22.8billion originated from ECOWAS.


By country of origin, goods were imported mainly from India, valued at N1,207.24 billion or 22.57%, China (N1,096.14 or 20.49%), the United States (N484.34billion or 9.05%), the Netherlands (N460.58billion or 8.61%) and Belgium (N308.30billion or 5.76%).

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Exports Classified by Standard International Trade Classification and Country of Destination


The value of total exports in Q4, 2019 stood at N4770.57 billion. This indicates a decrease of 9.79% against the level recorded in Q3,2019 but an increase of 7.06% when compared with its value in Q4, 2018. The Crude oil component of export amounted to N3,629.24 billion or 76.08% of total exports during the period under review while Non-crude oil export accounted for N1,141.33 billion, or 23.92%. For 2019, the share of crude oil exports in total exports stood at 76.5%, maintaining its downward trend from 2016 as the share of non-oil exports continued to increase.


Exports by section revealed that mineral products accounted for the largest proportion of exports, amounting to (N4,171.95 billion or 87.45%). This was followed by Vehicles aircraft and parts (N477.06billion or 10%) and others.


During the quarter, analysis of trade by region revealed that Nigeria exported mostly to Europe (N1,968.50billion or 41.2%), followed by Asia (N1417.31billion or 29.71%), Africa (N949.45billion or 19.9%), America (N359.49billion or 7.54%) and Oceania (N75.83billion or 1.5%). Within Africa, goods worth N582.3 billion was exported to ECOWAS member states. Similarly, on an annual basis, most exports went to Europe (39.69%), Asia (28.25%), Africa (20.44%), the Americas (10.67%) and Oceania (0.53%).


By country of destination, Nigeria exported goods to India (valued at N628.4billion or 13.17%), Spain (N493.88billion or 10.35%), France (N371.37billion or 7.78%), the Netherlands  (N356.3 billion or 7.47%) and Ghana (N352.88billion or 7.4%).

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Export/Imports Products Classified by Sectors Q4 2019


Agricultural Goods Sector


During the quarter, total trade in Agricultural goods stood at N301.49billion, out of which exported agricultural goods accounted for N68.2billion. Analysis by economic region showed that most Agricultural goods were exported to Asia and Europe, and valued at N34.54billion and N29.2billion respectively.  The key driver of agricultural products exports was Sesamum seeds exported mainly to India (N6.6billion), China (N5.4billion) and Turkey (N5.3billion). Other key agricultural exports were Good Fermented Nigerian Cocoa Beans exported mainly to the Netherlands (N12.3billion) and Germany (N5.9billion), as well as frozen shrimps exported to the Netherlands and valued at N1.5billion respectively.

Imported agricultural products accounted for N233.3billion of total agricultural trade in Q4, 2019. The major product was Durum wheat (not in seeds) imported mainly from Latvia (N11.58billion) and Canada (N11.15billion).  Durum wheat (seeds) was also imported from Singapore and Russia valued at N14.9billion and N6.78billion  respectively.

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Solid Minerals Sector

The total trade in solid mineral goods stood at N20.4 billion in Q4, 2019, comprising an import component of N18.5 billion and export component of N1.9billion. The major products exported under this sector were Lead ores and concentrates exported to China valued at N1.2billion;  Zinc ores and concentrates also to China at a value of N0.3billion, and to Malaysia with a value of N0.2 billion. In terms of imports, Nigeria imported Other salt, including crude salt worth N2.5 billion and N2.3billion from Brazil and Namibia respectively. Plasters of calcined Gypsum were imported from Turkey  at a value of N2.1billion, Gypsum; anhydrite worth N1.7billion was imported from Spain while Granite worth N1.8billion was imported from China.


Manufactured Goods Sector

The value of manufactured goods trade in Q4, 2019 stood at N4,421.4 billion or 43.69% of total trade. Of this, the export component accounted for N509.2 billion The products that drove up Manufactured export were Vessels and other floating Structures exported to Ghana, Germany, Cameroun and Singapore, valued at N302.7billion, N63.7billion, N13.2billion and N13.1billion respectively. Floating and submersible drilling platforms were also exported to Cameroun during the period under review, valued at N65.5billion.


In terms of imports, Other electro-diagnostic apparatus was imported from India, worth N845.6billion. Unused postage stamps of current issue worth N245billion was imported from United Arab Emirate . Other products imported included Used Vehicles worth N129 billion from the United States; Motorcycles worth N90.5 billion from India, and Antibiotics worth N80.4billion from France.


Raw Material Goods Sector

The value of total trade in raw material stood at N356.9billion. The import component was valued at N335.8billion while the export component stood at N21.1 billion. During the quarter, sugar for industrial use worth N0.02 billion was exported to Ghana; Other cane or beet Sugar worth N.04billion was exported to Turkey. However, cane sugar worth N59.8 billion was imported from Brazil. Other products imported were milk preparations imported from Ireland, Malaysia and Australia respectively worth N7.6 billion, N2.5billion and N2.3billion. In addition, Mixtures of odoriferous substances were imported from Ireland and Swaziland, worth N8.5billion and N2.6billion respectively.


Trade Intensity in Q4 2019

Export Intensity Index with Five Major Trading Partners

The export intensities in Q4, 2019 showed Nigeria's export trade with India was intense in October, November and December with the index recording 4.3, 4.3 and 3.5 respectively. There was also intense trade between Nigeria and its major trading partners (Spain, France, Netherlands and South Africa) in all months of the fourth quarter: Spain recorded 4.9, 5.0 and 3.2 in October, November and December respectively, while France recorded 1.8, 2.1 and 1.8; the Netherlands 2.2, 1.2 and 1.7 and South Africa 6.0, 13.6 and 11.6 in those months respectively.


Import Intensity Index with five Major Trading Partners

In Q4 2019, India ranked highest in Nigeria's import trade. It recorded an index of 17.2 in October, 4.4 in November and 1.8 in December. The high index in October can be attributed to the importation of electro-diagnostic apparatus and other machinery from India that month. China, which had always been Nigeria's leading partner in terms of imports, recorded 1.0, 1.5 and 0.6 in the months of October, November and December 2019. A similar trade pattern was recorded for the Netherlands (1.7, 2.9 and 0.3) and Belgium (2.8, 1.9 and 0.3). However, trade with the United States was not as intense during those months, as shown by the recorded import intensities of 0.7, 0.8 and 0.6 respectively.

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Trade by Mode of Transport

Water transport remained the major mode of conveying goods between Nigeria and trading partners. In Q4, 2019, water transport accounted for N4,747.46 billion or 99.52% of total exports. Air transport contributed N17.03 billion and other mode of transport contributed N5.89billion. Similarly for imports, most goods brought into the country arrived via water transportation means. Water transport accounted for N4,049.17billion or 75.69% of the value of total imports. Goods imported by road and air were valued at N16.76 billion and N1283.69 billion respectively.


Trade by Custom Ports and Post

In Q4, 2019, the bulk of export transactions was conducted through Apapa port, valued at N4,201.52billion or 88.07% of total exports, followed by PortHarcourt (3) which recorded N497.45billion or 10.43%, and Tin Can Island which recorded N53.76billion or 1.13%. In terms of imports, Apapa Port also recorded the highest transactions valued at N1,923.5billion or 35.96% of total imports. This was followed by Muhammed Murtala Cargo (N1193.77billion or 22.31%) and Tin can (N702billion or 13.2%).


Click Here to Download Q4 2019 Foreign Trade Statistics Report PDF Report


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Latest 2020 NBS Reports

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Q1 2020

  1. Nigeria's GDP Grew By 2.55% in Real Terms in Q4 2019 and 2.27% in Full Year 2019
  2. Average Prices of 1kg of Tomato Decreased By -10.65% YoY to N237.22 in Jan 2020 - NBS
  3. Average Prices Of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas - January 2020
  4. Headline Inflation Increases By 12.13% YoY In January 2020; 0.15% Higher Than December 2019 Rate
  5. N293.80bn Generated as IGR in Q3 2019 - NBS
  6. Nigeria's Total Public Debt Stood At N26.14trn in Q3 2019 - NBS
  7. Average Intercity Fare Increases By 1.43% MoM To N1, 666.57 In December 2019
  8. Average Price of 1kg of Tomato Decrease YoY by -2.80% To N263.90 In December 2019
  9. All Commodity Group Index Grew By 2.48% in Q3 2019
  10. Average Prices Of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas - December 2019
  11. Headline Inflation Increases By 11.98% YoY In December 2019; 0.13% Higher Than November 2019 Rate


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