The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade totalled N7.2 trillion in the first quarter of 20181; a year-on-year increase of 35.1 percent and a quarter-over-quarter growth of 19.8 percent. The growth was export-driven as the considerable surge in exports of manufactured goods and agricultural products triggered the YOY growth in total exports by 56 percent to reach N4.7 trillion. Import value also increased from N2.3 trillion to N2.5 trillion. This translates to a trade surplus of N2.2 trillion – the highest recorded in twelve quarters. Persistent and significant improvements in foreign trade, particularly in exports, are likely indicators of the strong impact of reforms in Nigeria’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors – two major drivers of the improvement
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
Nigerias domestic crude production increased significantly in April 2017. OPECs Month-on-Month data shows a 22.6 percent increase to 1.5 million barrels per day constituting the biggest increase among oil producing group. Crude production increased at the backdrop of completion of scheduled maintenance/repairs at the Bonga oil field, implying resumption of crude production by an additional 225,000 barrels. Remarkably, Nigeria is progressively moving towards meeting daily output benchmark/target (2.2 million barrels per day). Given recent boost in domestic crude oil production, considerable effort should be made to improve the countrys refining capacity in order to reduce fuel importation and conserve foreign exchange.
Crude oil price increased, in the week under review, to its highest price in 2016. Nigerias bonny light increased by $1.38 from $48.02 per barrel on May 20, 2016 to $49.64 per barrel on May 27, 2016, while Brent crude was sold for $50 per barrel on May 26, 2016. The catalyst for price gains in the period under review is the supply-side contractions, with unplanned production shortages in Nigeria, Canada and Iraq. The upward trend of prices may unlock more supplies in subsequent weeks, but the OPEC meeting scheduled for June 2, 2016, could moderate the effect. Nigeria is expected to benefit from crude oil price rising above the $38 per barrel benchmark. Unfortunately, supply disruptions continue to negatively affect oil revenue and may have contributed to the depletion of external reserve by over $153 millionthis week. The federal government, in collaboration with relevant security agencies, should find a lasting solution to the vandalism of oil pipelines and production facilities.
The external reserves decreased week-on-week marginally by 0.2 percent from June 9, 2017 to June 16, 2017. The reserve declined from $30.27 billion to $30.21 billion. Given that crude oil revenue constitutes the most part of the reserve, the decline may be reflective of the week-on-week drop in global crude oil price (Crude oil price fell by approximately 2 percent to $47.377 per barrel as at June 16 2017). The ongoing forex intervention by the monetary authority also poses a challenge to foreign reserve conservation. Given the unimpressive performance of global oil prices in recent time, there is need to explore other areas with great potentials to generate foreign exchange earnings. Diversification of forex earnings remains the key to insulating foreign reserve against fluctuations in global commodity prices. The country can tap into solid minerals sector as alternative source of foreign exchange. Huge investment together with investor-friendly policies in solid minerals would make the sector attractive to investors.
Power sector analysis shows an increase in power generated by 3.01 percent from 2903.5mw to 2991.8mw between July 1, 2016 and July 8, 2016, with a peak of 3260.8mw on July 5, 2016. This is however, still below the highest (5074.7mw) recorded in February, 2016. The increase reflects improved use of hydro (water) for power generation. The easing out of gas constraint occasioned by recent pipeline repairs have also contributed to the increase in power generation. Improvements in power generation would be sustained if hydro measures are complemented with fast-tracked repairs on damaged gas channels and intensified efforts at tackling pipeline sabotage.