Despite the recession and dollar shortages that frustrated international trade transactions, Nigeria’s trade account turned positive in 2017.

This is likely because of the rise in oil exports which outweighed imports, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS said.

The balance of trade last year was 4.03 trillion naira. The net trade balance stood at minus 290 billion naira for 2016.

The rise boosts Nigeria’s ambition to promote exports to support its fragile economy and earn foreign exchange while reducing imports.

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The NBS said oil and gas exports accounted for more than 93% of exports in the fourth quarter, with cocoa bean exports, largely to the Netherlands, Malaysia and Indonesia, making up 0.37%.

Nigeria’s manufacturing capacity is limited, so it imports most of what it consumes. Fourth-quarter imports dipped 8.5% from the previous year to 2.11 trillion naira, NBS said.

But exports more than compensated, jumping 31.3% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to 3.91 trillion naira.

The trade balance for fourth quarter more than doubled to 1.8 trillion naira from a year earlier.

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