Nigeria’s foreign trade surplus narrowed by 1.7% q/q to NGN2.66trn ($14.9bn) in the third quarter due to falling crude oil exports, data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. Compared to the same period last year, Q3’s trade surplus was 79% higher, as lower crude exports were more than offset by a surge in non-crude oil exports and a drop in imports.
Nigeria’s total exports rose 25.4% y/y to NGN4.48trn in Q3, speeding up from a 25.1% y/y growth in Q2. However, the value of exports was by 4.3% lower than in Q2.
Africa’s biggest oil producer exported NGN2.93trn worth of crude oil in Q3, down 4.5% y/y and 10.3% q/q. The decline was caused by declines in both prices and output. According to data from the central bank, the price at which Nigeria sold crude oil fell to $98.27 per barrel in September from $114.6 in July. The average crude oil selling price in Q3 was lower by 6.3% y/y and by 7.9% q/q. At the same time, Q3’s average daily crude oil production fell 2.7% q/q and 4.9% y/y to 2.15mbpd.
Oil exports are an important indicator for Nigeria, as they account for about 70% of government revenues, but the country is troubled by widespread pipeline vandalism and oil theft, in addition to the recent drop in oil prices. Nigeria has revised down already twice the previously proposed benchmark of $78 per barrel of oil for the 2015 budget, most recently to $65 per barrel, suggesting lower oil exports and lower government revenues, as well as risks to the fiscal outlook.
On the positive side, non-oil exports advanced by 9.6% q/q to NGN1.55trn in Q3, and were more than three times higher than a year earlier.
Imports to the West African country fell 12.7% y/y and 7.9% q/q to NGN1.82trn in Q3. Most of the imports came from China, 23.6% of the total, followed by the US (10.1%), Belgium (8.2%), India (5.9%) and the Netherlands (5.2%).
Most of Nigeria’s exports went to India, 15.3% of the total, followed by Spain (8.8%), the Netherlands (8.4%), Brazil (5.3%), and South Africa (5.2%).
Nigeria’s current account surplus, which is highly dependent on oil receipts, fell to 3.9% of GDP in 2013 from 7.3% in 2012, according to central bank data. Its surplus shrank further to 1.1% of GDP at end-June, reflecting also the GDP revision, which boosted the size of the economy by 90%.
|Q3 2014, NGN bn||Q2 2014, NGN bn||Q1 2014, NGN bn||Q4 2013, NGN bn||Q3 2013, NGN bn||Q3 2014, y/y||Q3 2014, q/q|
|--non crude oil||1,548.5||1,413.4||735.9||495.2||486.4||218.4%||9.6%|
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