Nigeria's total external merchandise trade increased to about N5.65 trillion in the Third Quarter of 2013, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
However, total exports declined by 4.5 per cent to about N3.75 trillion compared to N3.74 trillion in the Second Quarter 2013.
That was a drop in exports to the tune of N169.5 billion within the period. Conversely, the value of imports rose 30.4 per cent to about N2.08 trillion in Q3 2013 compared to about N1.59 trillion the previous quarter.
According to the latest Foreign Trade Statistics Third Quarter 2013, which was released yesterday, crude oil exports in Q3 2013 rose by 13.9 per cent to about N3.08 trillion in the period under review, while the non-oil component declined sharply by 52.9 per cent to about N486.4 billion in Q3 compared to about N1.03 trillion in the previous quarter.
According to the NBS, Year-on-year, crude oil and non-crude oil exports were down by 25.9 per cent and 72.1 per cent respectively. Compared with the corresponding quarter of 2012, total merchandise trade in the Third Quarter of 2013 declined by 21.2 per cent from about N7.17 trillion recorded in the previous year.
The decline was blamed largely on a 39.5 per cent lower value of exports year-on-year. On the other hand, imports were 64.0 per cent higher compared to the corresponding period as the trade balance was 67.9 per cent lower in Q3 2013 relative to the corresponding period in 2012.
On year to date, total merchandise trade was valued at N16.09 trillion down by 22.9 per cent from the about N20.88 trillion cumulative total recorded through the third quarter of 2012.
Meanwhile, a breakdown of the exports merchandise in the Q3 showed Netherlands was Nigeria's major trading partner with total trade volume of about N512.4 billion followed by the India with N495.3 billion and the United States, which has now been relegated to the third position with N278.5 billion. Brazil is fourth with N273.1 billion as well as Spain with N262.1 billion.
However, Nigeria's imports analysis showed China as its major trade partner with imports valued at N378.3 billion in Q3 2013.
This was followed by the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands with import values of N188.6 billion, N120.8 billion, N104.2 billion and N101.0 billion respectively. Further analysis showed that mineral products dominated the Nigerian exports contributing about N3.17 trillion or 88.7 per cent of total exports in Q3 2013.
This was followed by vegetable products - N96.8 billion or 2.7 per cent; prepared foodstuff, beverages, spirits and vinegar with N79.9 billion or 2.2 per cent and vehicles, aircraft and parts thereof, which recorded N56.2 billion or 1.6 per cent.
In the imports category, the largest contributors include industrial supplies at N494.2 billion or 23.7 per cent; goods not elsewhere specified at N474.0 billion or 22.3 per cent and capital goods, which totaled N299.0 billion or 14.3 per cent.
The report added: "The largest share of imports was contributed by boilers, machinery and appliances with N422.6 billion or 20.3 per cent of total imports in the third quarter of 2013.
Other significant sections contributing to the import bill during the period included; prepared foodstuffs, beverages, spirits and vinegar at N355.6 billion or 17.1 per cent of total imports, mineral products at N325.0 billion or 15.6 per cent of total imports and vehicles, aircraft and associated parts with N238.8 billion or 11.5 per cent of total imports."