The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said the country recorded a decrease of N495.3bn in total external merchandise trade from N5.658tn in the third quarter of 2013 to N5.162tn in the fourth quarter.
In the trade report released on Wednesday and signed by the Statistician General of the Federation/Chief Executive, NBS, Dr. Yemi Kale, the bureau said the N495.3bn represents a decrease of 8.8 per cent over what was recorded in the third quarter.
The report attributed the change to a decline in the value of imports and exports by 19.1 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively from the previous quarter.
For instance, it said while the value of imports declined from N2.084tn in the third quarter to N1.686tn in the fourth; the value of exports also dropped from N3.573tn to N3.476tn over the same period.
The resulting trade balance of N1.790tn according to the report represented an increase of N302.2bn or 20.3 per cent from the preceding quarter.
On a year-on-year comparison, the report said that total trade was N21.261tn for the 2013 calendar year, indicating a decrease of 24.3 per cent or N6.810tn lower than N28, 071tn recorded for 2012.
The report blamed the drop to a 36.5 per cent decline in exports.
The crude oil component of total exports, according to the report, stood at N2.981tn for the fourth quarter, while the non-crude oil accounted for N495.2bn.
When classified by sections, the report revealed that boilers, machinery and appliances accounted for the largest share of imports, with N355.9bn or 21.1 per cent of total imports.
Other significant imports to Nigeria during the period under review included vehicles, aircrafts and parts with N293.6bn or 17.4 per cent, and mineral products with N230.3bn or 13.7 per cent of the total import bill.
Summarising imports by region, the report stated that the greatest value of imports to Nigeria in the fourth quarter of 2013 came from Asia, with N746.9bn or 44.3 per cent of total imports.
This was followed by Europe with N554.6bn or 32.9 per cent, the Americas with N267.3bn (15.9 per cent), Africa with N102.8bn (6.1 per cent) and Oceania with N14.4bn (0.9 per cent).
The report added that “ECOWAS contributed N48.0bn, or 46.7 per cent of the total imports from the Africa region.
“The individual countries with the five greatest import values are China, United States, South Korea, Netherlands and India, with Nigeria consuming N374.1bn, N185.1bn, N122.5bn, N95.7bn and N90.7bn of goods respectively.”
In terms of exports, the report revealed that “Mineral products dominate Nigerian exports, contributing N3.167tn or 91.1 per cent of the total.
“This is followed by prepared foodstuff, beverages, spirit and vinegar, tobacco with N100.9bn or 2.9 per cent and vegetable products with N 51.641bn or 1.5 per cent of total exports of the quarter.”
It explained that the continent with the largest consumption of Nigerian export was Europe, which received N1.416tn or 40.8 per cent of the total exports.
This is followed by Asia with N881.7bn or 25.4 per cent of exports, Africa with N439.8bn or 12.7 per cent, and The Americas with N435.5bn or 12.5 per cent of exports.