LAGOS Dec 1 Nigerian exports climbed 29 percent
in the third quarter, official figures showed on Thursday,
lifted by crude sales to India and the U.S. that helped cut a
widening trade deficit in Africa's largest economy.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the trade
deficit narrowed to minus 104.14 billion naira in the third
quarter, from 484.23 billion naira in the previous quarter, due
to the rise in exports which went from $342.5 million to $1.59
The recession in Nigeria deepened in the third quarter as
oil output fell due to militant attacks in its crude-producing
Niger Delta and global prices remained low, choking the economy
of much needed dollars to fund imports.
Oil production averaged 1.63 million barrels per day between
July to September, down from 1.69 million in the second quarter.
The government's budget calculations are based on 2.2 million
barrels of oil production per day.
The presidency said in September that India wanted to buy
more crude oil from Nigeria, quoting India's vice president as
saying during a visit to Abuja.
"The structure of Nigeria's export trade is still dominated
by crude oil exports," the statistics office said in its report.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to diversify
government revenues to protect the economy from oil price shocks
and broaden the tax base. However, results are yet to
The government is struggling to secure much needed funds to
cover a shortfall in its record 6.06 trillion naira budget for
2016 as oil revenues decline.
The NBS said crude exports accounted for 84.2 percent of
export trade in the three months to September. It said total
exports at 2.31 trillion naira were flat compared to a year ago,
with India and United States accounting for more than 40 percent
of export trade.
Total trade between July and September stood at 4.72
trillion naira, up 16.3 percent from the three months to June.
Imports rose 6.2 percent in the third quarter to 2.41 trillion
The bulk of Nigeria's imports were machinery and transport
equipment, chemicals and petroleum products. They came mostly
from China, Belgium, Netherlands, United States and India. Intra
African imports accounted for 3.6 percent of the total.
($1 = 304.00 naira)
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)