Nigeria’s total foreign trade decreased by 17.94% to N8.3trn ($21.4bn) in the first quarter of 2020 when compared with the forth quarter of the previous with a figure of N10.12trn ($27bn), according to new data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

However, the latest figure represents a 0.8% year on year increase from the same period in 2019.

The value of total imports decreased by 21.08% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the value recorded in the forth quarter of 2019 but was 13.99% higher when compared with the first quarter of the same year.

For export on the other hand, total value decreased 14.42% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the value recorded in the forth quarter of 2019 and 9.98% compared to the first quarter the same year.

The data revealed that crude oil which is Nigeria’s dominant export amounted to $7.75m which represents 72.12% of total exports for the the first quarter of 2020.

China and India remain Nigeria’s two biggest trading partners with 15.61% of exports going to India and 26.28 % or import coming from China.

The slump in total trade is not unexpected considering the travel ban and lockdown in Nigeria’s main trading partner countries due to COVID-19.

Asia from which the pandemic broke out is the destination of 31.28 % of Nigeria’s total export and 46.58 % of total imports.

This underscores the strategic importance of Asia to Nigeria at a time when there is increased focus on how that part of the world is managing the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

As COVID-19 has peaked in Asia, Nigeria’s economic relationship with that part of the world would depend to a large extent on how the country is able to quickly flatten the curve.

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