The country recorded an increase of N1.18tn in merchandise trade in the first quarter of this year to N7.21tn from N6.02tn in the fourth quarter of last year.
The figures were contained in the Foreign Trade in Goods Report, which was released on Wednesday by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The bureau stated that the trade value of N7.21tn was also an increase of 35.07 per cent when compared to the N5.33tn recorded in the corresponding first quarter of 2017.
“The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade was N7.21tn in the first quarter of 2018, which was a 19.74 per cent growth from the figure recorded in Q4 2017 (N6.02tn) and a 35.07 per cent growth from Q1 2017 (N5.33tn),” the report read in part.
It added that the strong growth of total trade in the first quarter was mainly driven by the strong increase in export.
It noted that as a result of the strong growth in trade, the country was able to record a surplus of N2.17tn in the first quarter of this year.
This, the report added, was a 20.95 per cent increase from the trade surplus of N1.79tn recorded in the fourth quarter of last year and a 221.08 per cent increase from the N677.42bn recorded in the corresponding first quarter of 2017.
“The quarter under review is the first quarter in two years that the trade balance exceeded N2tn,” it added.
In terms of imported goods, the NBS report put the value at N2.51tn in the first quarter of this year, adding that this was 19.22 per cent higher than the N2.1tn recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
It stated that the value of imported agricultural goods in the first quarter was N184.49bn, representing a decline of 18.9 per cent from the fourth quarter figure of N227.49bn.
Raw materials imports in the first quarter were N284.81bn, which was a growth of 1.93 per cent compared to the N279.41bn recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.
It added that solid minerals imports in the first quarter were N12.62bn, representing a decrease by 17.27 per cent when compared to the N15.26bn recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
The report also stated that the value of manufactured goods imported in the first quarter of this year was N1.18tn, declining by 1.65 per cent over the previous quarter’s figure of N1.2tn.
In terms of exports, the NBS report explained that the country exported goods valued at N4.69tn in the first quarter.
This represents a significant growth of 20.02 per cent over the fourth quarter 2017 exports value of N3.91tn.