NESG 2019 Foreign Trade Alert March 2020, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group
Mar 2020

Trade Surplus shrinks in 2019 as Nigeria’s closure of land borders led to a trade deficit in 2019Q4


2019 full year trade figures were slightly better due to impressive performance from Q1-Q3. However, trade figures in the last quarter of 2019 were largely unimpressive due to the land border closure.

  • Positive but declining trade balance recorded. For full year (FY) 2019, export was higher than import in terms of value but import rose faster than export; hence, the shrinkage in trade surplus.
  • For FY 2019, crude oil export declined, but non-oil export increased. Crude oil and other oil-related products export declined from N15.2 trillion in 2018 to N14.7 trillion in 2019. However, non-oil exports increased significantly from N1.2 trillion to N2.5 trillion in 2019. In terms of contribution, the former consisted of 87% of total exports, while non-oil export accounted for 13% of total exports in 2019.
  • On a quarterly basis, Nigeria’s land border closure had negative impact on overall trade in the fourth quarter of 2019. In the last quarter of 2019, crude oil exports declined by 3.2%; non-crude oil exports fell by 25.9%, while non-oil exports plunged by 43.9%. With this, overall import in the quarter was N5.35 trillion while export stood at N4.77 trillion. This implies that Nigeria’s trade balance slipped into a deficit of N579 billion ($1.6 billion) for the first time since the third quarter of 2016.