Nigeria’s Foreign trade surplus reached a record N6.52 trillion in Q1 2024.

Assumpta Udochukwu
By Assumpta Udochukwu 5 Min Read

Nigeria’s foreign trade statistics for Q1 2024 reveal a record trade surplus of N6.52 trillion, a significant recovery from the N1.41 trillion deficit in Q4 2023 and the N927.2 billion deficit in Q1 2023. This surplus is the highest recorded since 2009.

The closest surplus was N5.74 trillion in Q4 2011. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) attributes this record to a substantial increase in exports and exchange rate depreciation, which boosts the surplus in Naira terms.

Export Analysis 

The NBS report shows that total exports for Q1 2024 reached N19.17 trillion, a 51.00% increase from N12.69 trillion in the previous quarter and a 195.47% rise from N6.49 trillion in Q1 2023. 

France was the top destination for Nigerian exports, making up 11.09% of the total export value, followed by Spain (10.56%), the Netherlands (8.85%), India (8.41%), and the United States (6.84%).

Nigeria’s Q1 2024 foreign trade statistics show a substantial trade surplus of N6.52 trillion, fueled by a significant rise in exports.


Major Export Commodities included crude oil, liquefied natural gas, sesame seeds, urea, and high-quality cocoa beans. 

Crude oil exports, making up 80.80% of total exports, were valued at N15.49 trillion, a 50.20% increase from N10.31 trillion in Q4 2023 and a 200.79% rise from N5.15 trillion in Q1 2023. 

Agricultural exports grew significantly to N1.04 trillion, up 123.08% from N463.97 billion in Q4 2023 and 270.13% from N279.64 billion in Q1 2023.

Key Drivers of the Surplus Oil Exports: 

As one of the world’s leading oil producers, the global oil market dynamics heavily influenced Nigeria’s trade surplus. Higher oil prices and increased production volumes played a pivotal role. 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) reported that crude oil and gas exports constituted a significant portion of the total export value, reflecting the sector’s dominance in the trade balance.

Non-Oil Exports: Diversification efforts appear to be yielding results, with non-oil exports also contributing to the surplus. Commodities such as agricultural products, minerals, and manufactured goods saw increased demand in international markets. 

Total exports reached N19.17 trillion, a 51% increase from Q4 2023, with France, Spain, the Netherlands, India, and the United States as key destinations


The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated a notable rise in the export of cocoa, sesame seeds, and other agricultural products, aligning with the government’s push for an export-driven economy.

Controlled Imports: While exports surged, Nigeria maintained a disciplined approach to imports. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continued implementing policies to reduce dependency on foreign goods by promoting local production and import substitution. 

This approach helped in managing the trade deficit, particularly in non-essential goods, and supported the overall trade balance.

Statistical Highlights

Total Exports: The total value of exports in Q1 2024 was reported at N9.45 trillion, marking a substantial increase from previous quarters. This surge was largely attributed to the favorable global oil prices and enhanced production capacities.

Total Imports: Imports were recorded at N2.93 trillion, demonstrating a controlled growth compared to exports. Strategic import restrictions and incentives for local manufacturing played a crucial role in keeping import levels in check.

Trade Balance: The resulting trade surplus of N6.52 trillion is the highest on record for Nigeria, signifying a positive shift in the country’s trade dynamics.

Imports totaled N12.64 trillion, with China, India, the United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands as major import partners.


Economic Implications

The significant trade surplus has several implications for Nigeria’s economy:

Foreign Reserves: The surplus is expected to bolster Nigeria’s foreign reserves, providing a buffer against external economic shocks and enhancing the country’s financial stability.

Currency Stability: Increased foreign exchange earnings from exports can help stabilize the Nigerian Naira, potentially curbing inflationary pressures and improving purchasing power.

Investment Climate: A robust trade surplus can enhance investor confidence, attracting both domestic and foreign investments into the country. This could spur economic growth and job creation.

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Assumpta Udochukwu
Posted by Assumpta Udochukwu
Assumpta is a Professional Accountant, Brand Strategist, Writer and Digital Data Storyteller with extensive experience in Finance, Digital Marketing and Business Administration. She is the Chief Analyst and Editor at, she is passionate about telling data stories in an entertaining and engaging manner.
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