Despite a slower rate of expansion, New Zealand’s manufacturing sector remains in solid territory, according to the latest BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).
The seasonally adjusted PMI for March was 54.5 (a PMI reading above 50.0 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). This was 1.6 points lower than February, although still in healthy expansion mode. The sector has now been in expansion for 30 consecutive months.
BusinessNZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said although the level of expansion was not as strong as the previous month, activity was still healthy and positive across most of the sub-indices recorded.
“Comments from respondents remained more positive (60%) than negative (40%), although a number of those that provided a negative influence mentioned the increased value of the New Zealand dollar, in particular against the Australian. This is something we’ll continue to watch out for in the months ahead.”
BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said, “Both the PMI and Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) show New Zealand’s manufacturing sector remaining in relatively good heart. Confidence in this area of the economy is up, building intentions reached their highest level ever in the QSBO, and plant and machinery intentions reached their highest level since September 1994. The nation’s manufacturing sector was at the forefront of this.”