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NZ manufacturing sales volumes gain 1.3% in 2015 fourth quarter

Tuesday 8th March 2016

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New Zealand manufacturing sales volumes rose in the final quarter of 2015, led by gains in petroleum and coal.

Total seasonally adjusted sales volumes increased 1.3 percent in the three months through December, following a revised 3.3 percent gain in the September quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. 

Manufacturing volumes for petroleum and coal, which can be volatile, led the increases in the latest quarter, up 11 percent on an unadjusted basis. Meat and dairy manufacturing sales increased 2.5 percent following a 6 percent gain in the September quarter. Fruit, oil, cereal and other food manufacturing slid 2.9 percent. Statistics New Zealand said the results were mixed across the 13 industries in the latest quarter, with six gaining and seven declining.

"The manufacturing sector finished 2015 on a strong note," Westpac Banking Corp New Zealand senior economist Michael Gordon said in a note. "While food manufacturing gave back some of the previous quarter's gains, there was growth in other areas such as textiles, wood, minerals, and petroleum processing."

Manufacturing is the last significant piece of data that feeds into gross domestic product for the fourth quarter, which is scheduled for release on March 17.

Westpac's Gordon said the latest data was consistent with the bank's current forecast of 0.7 percent growth for the quarter.

The actual value of manufacturing sales, including price changes, edged up 0.1 percent to $26.4 billion in the fourth quarter, the statistics agency said.

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