Nigeria has traditionally exported more than it
imports i.e. it usually enjoys a balance of trade surplus. This was principally
because of high oil prices and revenue. In recent times with oil price
crashing, Nigeria had started running a balance of trade deficit (imports
greater than exports). Trade deficit increased by 1,094.2% to $9.61bn in Q1’21
from $804.71mn in Q1’20.
The recent spike in oil prices has raised hopes for a
return to the trade surplus era. This is why the surprise swing of Q1 merchandize
trade to a deficit of $9.61bn caught the market napping. Analysts are still
optimistic and project that the balance of trade will swing into surplus of
$3.6bn in 2022. The Q1 deficit of $9.61bn will be more than compensated by the
higher oil price currently at $72pb.