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NZ manufacturing activity hits highest level since April

Friday 18th January 2019

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New Zealand's manufacturing activity hit its highest level since April in December and while activity in 2018 was weaker than it has been during the past two years, it was still above average.  

The seasonally adjusted PMI for December was 55.1, up 1.4 points from November. A reading above 50 separates expansion from contraction.

The year "averaged 53.8 in activity, slightly ahead of the overall average of 53.4 since the survey began. However, it was still a noticeable dip in expansion compared with 56.2 over 2017 and 56.0 over 2016," said BusinessNZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard.

Production lifted to 55.7 from 51.9 while employment was at 52.2 versus 51.2 in the November survey. Finished stocks rose to 58.6 versus 55.3, marking a record high. The deliveries measure was at 58.5 versus 53.0.  New orders registered 56.1 versus 56.3 in the prior survey. 

"The latest NZ PMI result is all the more encouraging in the context of slowing growth in global manufacturing. The latter is part of what’s casting clouds around international GDP growth expectations, going into 2019," said BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert. 

He noted, however, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's quarterly survey of business opinion "registered a tone of struggle" regarding manufacturing output during the past three months. As a result "there are still elements of caution there," he said. 

(BusinessDesk)

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