03 March 2015, Lagos – The country’s total merchandise trade is expected to rise by N2.43tn from the estimated figure of N25.17tn in December 2014 to N27.6tn by the end of this year, a document obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics has predicted.
The bureau, in its economic review and outlook for the next three years, said the N2.43trn represents an increase of 9.66 per cent.
The report stated that the recent depreciation of the naira would result in cheaper prices of non-oil exports, adding that this would have a positive impact on trade.
It stated, “While exports are expected to be positive in the near term, the impact of declining crude oil prices is likely to result in a decline in the value of oil exports over the forecasted period. The recent depreciation of the Nigerian naira is expected to result in cheaper prices of non-oil exports, resulting in a boost.
“Although the decline in crude oil prices may weigh on the value of oil exports, the recent depreciation of the local currency is expected to bode well for non-oil exports.
“The depreciation also means that imports are likely to be more expensive and are likely to slow going forward. The value of total trade is projected to increase by 9.66 per cent in 2015.”
On inflation outlook for the rest of the year, the NBS report added that inflation might rise to 8.8 per cent this year, noting that it was expected to remain moderately stable, averaging 8.13 per cent over the 2015 to 2017 period.
It said contrary to speculations that there were likely to be increased pressures on prices as a result of the general elections, a review of the historical time series in the current democratic dispensation revealed that this was unlikely to be the case.
The NBS stated, “In the previous four elections of 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011, only one election year actually had an increase in the inflation index.
“Lagged effects may, however, exist as the headline index was higher the year after the election in all cases. Nevertheless, upward pressure on inflation rates are likely to be caused by the recent depreciation of the naira.
“While inflation is projected to rise to rise to 8.8 per cent in 2015, it is expected to remain moderately stable, averaging 8.13 per cent over the 2015 to 2017 period.”