New Zealand’s level of manufacturing expansion decreased further in March, according to the BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI).
The seasonally adjusted PMI for March was 52.2 (a PMI reading above 50.0 indicates that manufacturing is generally expanding; below 50.0 that it is declining). This was 1.1 points lower than February, and the second consecutive decrease in overall expansion levels for 2018.
BusinessNZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine Beard said that the manufacturing story of 2018 continues, whereby it is still showing expansion, but at a different level to 2017.
“On a positive note, the proportion of positive comments in March (55.1%) picked up from both February (51.4%) and January (50.7%). Those who provided negative comments typically noted a lack of finding the right staff, reduced orders (both domestically and offshore) and general uncertainty in the market.
BNZ Senior Economist, Craig Ebert said that “the weak spot in March’s PMI was its production index. With a seasonally adjusted outcome of 50.8 this was close to stalling. Compare this to February’s 53.7 and the exceptionally high reading of 61.0 back in November and a sense of sharp deceleration arises”.